Practical Suggestions for Practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Corporal Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbours with their everyday material and physical needs. Below are practical ideas for both children and adults to live out the Works of Mercy.
Corporal Works of Mercy
Feed the Hungry
· support or volunteer for food banks, soup kitchens, and agencies that feed the hungry;
· make a few sandwiches to hand out as you walk through areas where you might encounter people in need;
· educate yourself about world hunger;
· avoid wasting food;
· share your meals with others.
Shelter the Homeless
· help neighbors care for their homes and do repairs;
· support and/or volunteer at a homeless shelter;
· support and/or volunteer for charitable agencies who care for the homeless, build homes, and provide support in the wake of natural disasters;
Clothe the Naked
· go through your drawers and closets and find good-condition clothes and shoes to donate to agencies that provide assistance for those in need;
· Support the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society
Visit the Sick
· spend quality time with those who are sick or homebound;
· take the time to call, send a card or an e-mail to someone who is sick;
· assist those who are full-time caregivers for family members;
· cook and delivers meals to the sick and homebound.
Visit the Imprisoned
· support programs sponsored by agencies that advocate on behalf of those who are unjustly imprisoned;
· pray for the families of inmates;
Give to the Poor
· throw your coin change into a jar and periodically donate it to a charity;
· if possible make a regular monetary donation to a charity that tends to the needs of the poor.
Bury the Dead
· support a local hospice;
· take friends and relatives to visit the cemetery;
· offer daily prayers for those with illnesses and for those who have died;
· send Mass cards to families of those who have died.
Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbours with their everyday spiritual and emotional needs.
· commit yourself to learning about the Catholic faith and share your understanding of the faith with others and with those who welcome it;
· share your insights, knowledge, and skills with others, especially friends, fellow students, co-workers;
· take time to “tutor” those who are just beginning tasks;
· read good literature or the Bible and encourage others to do the same.
· be courageous yet compassionate in calling people and institutions to be faithful to Gospel values;
· set a good example for others.
· work at being optimistic;
· respond to negativity with hope;
· be articulate about your own hopes;
· ask people about their hopes and support them in trying to attain them.
· walk with others through their pain;
· offer words of encouragement to those who seem discouraged;
· offer positive words to fellow students or co-workers who are having a difficult time with their tasks;
· offer sympathy to those who are upset.
· pray for those who have wronged you and pray for the courage to forgive;
· ask forgiveness from others;
· let go of grudges; go out of your way to be positive with someone you are having a difficult time with.
Bearing wrongs patiently
· work at being less critical of others;
· overlook minor flaws and mistakes;
· give people the benefit of the doubt;
· pray for those who have wronged you.
* Some of the above suggestions need to be adapted for young children