Mercy Minute #4; March 2016
By Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM
for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy
“The Fourteen Works of Mercy”
Hello friends, Fr. Wade Menezes here of the Fathers of Mercy with another “Mercy Minute” for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis.
Works of mercy are those charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbors in their bodily and spiritual needs. And while such actions are surely many, the Church’s traditional listing includes fourteen very important ones: seven for the body (called the “corporal works of mercy,” after the Latin word “corpus” which means “body”), and seven for the soul (called the “spiritual works of mercy”).
It’s precisely because the human person is a body-soul composite that the Fourteen Works of Mercy are so important in the life of the Christian who is ready to aid his neighbor. As human persons, we not only have bodies, we are bodies; and we not only have souls, we are souls. And both the corporal and spiritual aspects of the human person need to be nurtured and maintained.
Rooted in Sacred Scripture, the Corporal Works of Mercy are: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and bury the dead.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are: to admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries and to pray for the living and the dead.
Pope Francis, in his Papal Bull titled Misericordia Vultus (The Face of Mercy), wherein he officially announces the Jubilee Year of Mercy, exhorts us to practice these Fourteen Works of Mercy. And Pope St. Gregory the Great says that “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”
And that’s another Mercy Minute. I’m Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy. Be sure to visit the Fathers of Mercy website at fathersofmercy.com and follow us on Facebook. God bless you.