Works of Mercy

Works of Love – Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy

Inspired by the life of Christ in the Gospels and by a deep communion with God in prayer, our hearts cannot help but be concerned for the other. Definite works of charity are a concrete way to manifest our concern for them.
Pope Francis writes that “we are called, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude. Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.” (Pope Francis, Message for the First World Day for the Poor, 13th June 2017)

So for Pope Francis, helping other people is not about pleasing our conscience or about the feel good factor that comes from helping them. No, when we reach out to others and show true solidarity, we ourselves are transformed in the process.

Below, we will find a few suggestive Works of Mercy to get us thinking. When we are reflecting on what almsgiving we will do, remember that when we open ourselves and reach out to others, we will be transformed by them, because we will come to know ourselves better. We will get to know our own sensitivities and limitations and how much we rely on the grace of God and the help of others in our lives. Again, we should decide on a few Works of Mercy that will challenge us and write them down. We should not be afraid to go out of our comforts zones. Also remember that charity begins at home. So first we ought to reflect on how we can be a better husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc.; secondly, on how we can better serve our community and the world at large:

Make time for our spouse/children

Sacrifice for our spouse/children

Affirm those around us (daily or weekly)

Be a better friend

Consciously carry out our duties in the home as an act of mercy. Add the secret ingredient of love

Help the disadvantaged in our area. For example, volunteer or donate to a soup Kitchen or food bank

Practice the Apostolate of Smiling (“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa)

Welcoming strangers and newcomers into our area

Examine our conscience to see if we have let any prejudice, bigotry, or racism poison our hearts. If we have, repent and resolve to welcome the stranger

How can we help the homeless and those less well off

Strive to radiate the love of Christ and see Christ in all those we encounter

Pray for the deceased

Pray for the protection of the unborn

Call or write to a person who is grieving

When we are impatient, we will think of Jesus’ words, ‘You did it to me’ and we will strive to be patient with Christ in the members of his body

The next time we are unjustly attacked, we will strive to remain calm with the peace of Christ and respond with love

Who do we need to forgive

We will strive to let go of the hurt people have caused us and pray for them instead

Donate any clothes or shoes we don’t need

Strive to learn more about our faith

Strive to share our faith with others

We will learn to trust more in God’s mercy and help others to trust in his mercy

Comfort the sick at home or in hospital, by visiting and helping them in any way we can

Call more frequently to any elderly friends, neighbours or relations we may have

Visit or pray for those in prison

Pray for the victims of crime

We will bear the weaknesses of others and not be too quick to correct them

When a neighbour is in need of correction, we will pray for the courage and grace to do so with love and mercy

Invite others to the Sacrament of Confession

Pray for those in need, especially for unrepentant sinners, particularly for those who are dying

Strive to help the souls in purgatory by praying for them

We will give up some food, drink, clothing item, or a form of entertainment and give the money to those in need

(Ideas mainly adapted from the book by Fr Michael Gaitley, ‘You did it to Me’)


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