The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They “are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs.” They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life.
The seven Corporal Works of Mercy are listed below. After each work of mercy there are also suggestions and words of advice for living them out in our daily lives.
• Feed the Hungry
There are many people in this world who go without food. When so much of our food goes to waste, consider how good stewardship practices of your own food habits can benefit others who do not have those same resources.
• Give drink to the Thirsty
Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity. We should support the efforts of those working towards greater accessibility of this essential resource.
• Visit the Sick
Those who are sick are often forgotten or avoided. In spite of their illness, these individuals still have much to offer to those who take the time to visit and comfort them.
• Visit the Prisoners
People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God. No matter what someone has done, each person deserves the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ.
• Bury the Dead
Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times. Through our prayers and actions during these times we show our respect for life, which is always a gift from God, and comfort to those who mourn.
• Give Alms to the Poor
Donate money to organizations that have the ability to provide support and services for those in need. Do research and find organizations that put people in need first, rather than profit.
Skip the morning latte and put that money in the collection basket at church.
Find a charity that is meaningful to you and volunteer your time or donate.
This Lent, give up eating out at restaurants. Pack you meals and donate the extra money to charities.
• SHELTER THE HOMELESS
There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home. I hope and I pray the none one of us will ever be in that situation, but there are people who are. And they need our help. Christ encourages us to go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them to seek a resolution to the challenges they face. There are many reasons why this is difficult to do, but in our parish we have the opportunity – right now – to do so. Maybe we will never have this opportunity again; because of laws and regulations and our own personal needs, it is difficult to do this kind of charitable work.
I am asking each of you to volunteer for our project to shelter the homeless, to sign up today after Mass. There are many ways you can help; every little thing is appreciated.
One of the things you may be certain of is that we believe that we are giving to others, many times we receive more than we have given. Then we know that Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer is indeed true… “O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”