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August 3, 2021 REL Asset - Activity, REL Topic - Catechesis, REL Topic- Virtues/Values, REL Catechetical - Intergenerational

Works of Mercy for Catholic Families

This article defines both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and explores Jesus’ directive to his disciples to care for others. This article suggests ways that families can build their understanding of the seven corporal works of mercy and seven spiritual works of mercy and perform these acts of love. Plus, download our printable Works of Mercy Game Activity that encourages Catholic kids and families to play and learn together.

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What are the Works of Mercy?  

When Catholics serve others, they give witness to Jesus Christ. As acts of love that help us care for the needs of others, the Works of Mercy are an opportunity for Catholics to give witness to Christ. Jesus entrusted his followers the responsibility of caring for others. One way that Catholics fulfill this responsibility is by performing the Works of Mercy.

Mercy is one of the fruits of charity, which enables us to show love and compassion to those who are suffering in any way, whether in mind, body, heart, or soul. The Works of Mercy are divided into two categories: The Corporal Works of Mercy (dealing with the body) and the Spiritual Works of Mercy (dealing with the mind, heart, and soul).

 

The Works of Mercy are an opportunity for Catholics to give witness to Christ.

The Corporal Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy are acts of love that address the physical and material needs of others. The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  • Feed the hungry.
  • Give drink to the thirsty.
  • Clothe the naked.
  • Visit the imprisoned.
  • Shelter the homeless.
  • Visit the sick.
  • Bury the dead.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Spiritual Works of Mercy address the needs of peoples’ minds, hearts, and souls. The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  • Admonish the sinner. (Give correction to those who need it.)
  • Instruct the ignorant. (Share our knowledge with others.)
  • Counsel the doubtful. (Give advice to those who need it.)
  • Comfort the sorrowful. (Comfort those who suffer.)
  • Bear wrongs patiently. (Be patient with others.)
  • Forgive all injuries. (Forgive those who hurt us.)
  • Pray for the living and the dead.

Learning from Jesus

Mercy is a theme found in Scripture in the Old Testament, but Jesus elevated our understanding of mercy in the New Testament. Jesus made it clear that a path of discipleship towards eternal life involves caring for others. He identified himself as the one whom his disciples would love and care for: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me) Matthew 25:40. Jesus asks us to see him in every person we meet, especially in those who are suffering in need. He asks us to care for each person in a spirit of loving service knowing that we are really loving and caring for Christ, who, through the Holy Spirit, lives on in every person.

Ways to Perform the Works of Mercy

All the Works of Mercy are practical ways for disciples of any age to live out the Catholic faith using their gifts, talents, and treasure. But performing just one of the Works of Mercy has an impact on the world. The Works of Mercy are powerful ways to show love to others. Performing Works of Mercy also prepares disciples for the Last Judgement, when Jesus Christ will come at the end of time to judge all people on how merciful they have been and how well they have treated those who are poor or in need. Jesus invites his followers: “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:31-32)

All the Works of Mercy are practical ways for disciples of any age to live out the Catholic faith using their gifts, talents, and treasure... The Works of Mercy are powerful ways to show love to others.

Download and share a game to support Catholic kids and families as they learn about and discuss the Works of Mercy. The printable game board features everyday actions that demonstrate mercy to others and those that do not. The game can be printed on heavy stock paper and decorated (ensuring text on the game squares remains legible). Kids and families can then cut out the pieces and play using the instructions on the printable activity and get inspiration for performing real Works of Mercy in the world.

The Works of Mercy Game

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In Summary

Performing the Works of Mercy enables disciples of Jesus to show love and compassion to those who are suffering in any way, whether in mind, body, heart, or soul. All Catholics have a responsibility entrusted to them by Jesus Christ to perform the works of mercy and will be judged on these merciful acts at the end of time. Help families grow in mercy and change lives with love and compassion through the Works of Mercy. Download the Works of Mercy Game Activity now.