Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy ~A Lenten Reflection

‘Lord When did we see You Hungry, and Feed You?’

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:34-40

Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, reads:
The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.
When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, Saint Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.”
~Catechism of the Catholic Church

Corporal Works of Mercy

These Corporal Works of Mercy are acts of kindness by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church ~

The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

Feed the hungry

Shelter the homeless

Clothe the naked

Visit the sick

Visit the imprisoned

Bury the dead

Give alms to the poor

Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are oriented toward the soul. Though ideally applicable for all faithful, not everyone is considered capable or obligated to perform the first three Spiritual Works of Mercy before they possess the proper tact, knowledge or canonical training to do so. The remaining four Spiritual Works of Mercy are considered to be an obligation of all faithful to practice unconditionally.

~Catechism of the Catholic Church~

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

Counseling the doubtful

Instructing the ignorant

Admonishing the sinner

Comforting the sorrowful

Forgiving injuries

Bearing wrongs patiently

Praying for the living and the dead

A Little bit of Mercy ~ A Time for Reflection

“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” ~Pope Francis~

We are in the middle of our Lenten journey. In his homily, yesterday, the priest said that this is a time when we should be in pain. He was not referring to physical pain but rather, spiritual pain. He said that Lent is a time for honest self-examination and as we look deeply into our souls we should be recognizing our sinfulness and this should cause us pain. Neither was he implying that we are great sinners. He was teaching that we should never be satisfied with where we are in our relationship with God. There is always a need to go higher; to go more deeply within ourselves and work toward our ultimate goal which, of course, is getting to heaven.

“It is a dangerous thing to be satisfied with ourselves.” ~Saint Teresa of Ávila~

Good Deeds for the Love of God

It is said that we should love our neighbor, not for love of neighbor but for love of God. Loving our neighbor is a way to love God.

“Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God if we have given what we could.” ~Saint Gregory Nazianzen~

I can speak for no one’s acts but my own. I can examine only my own conscience. In asking myself, “Have I visited the sick or clothed the naked?” Surely, I can answer, “Yes,” but if I examine further and ask if I have given enough, I would have to say, “No.” It is never enough. God knows our hearts. He knows that whatever we do or how much we give has no meaning if it is not done or given with love and humility.

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.  And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” ~Luke 21:1-4~

“At the end of our life, we shall all be judged by charity.” ~Saint John of the Cross~

Forgiving Injuries ~ Bearing Wrongs Patiently

I believe that if I am wronged or hurt, God has allowed it because there is something He wants me to learn from the wound; that my tears water seeds of forgiveness. I believe this but am I as patient as I should or could be when I am wronged? Perhaps, therein lies the lesson. 

Saint Mary MacKillop said,“Value your crosses as the most precious presents from a good and loving God.”

So, in this midpoint of our Lenten journey, we have much to reflect upon and we are blessed in that God will show us where we need to grow and with His love, we shall come to Easter a new, more sanctified being.

Marilyn Nash

Feature image ~ “Charity” ~ William Adolphe-Bougereau

Marilyn Nash

Marilyn Nash is a rosary artisan who, with her husband, creates one-of-a-kind and limited edition themed rosaries. She is a writer and author of the book, The Sacred Strand, Praying the rosary with saints and artists. In addition, the former interior designer is an artist and creates one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbags, and wearable art. Certified in Religious Education, Marilyn has taught both children and adults, specializing in Catholic themes, doctrine related to Mary and the Rosary. She is also a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Her passion is painting sacred and spiritual art.