During this Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis calls us to become more merciful in our own lives and to bring God’s mercy to others.  Through Works of Mercy, we extend God’s compassion and love to those in need, and show compassion for, and make efforts to alleviate, another’s misfortune. The Corporal Acts of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat others.  Below are the Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy, as well as some practical suggestions on how you can incorporate them into your daily life.  

 

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 modifying your own food habits can benefit others who do not have those same resources. For example, research and contribute financially to organizations that serve the hungry.

 

Give drink to the thirsty

Many do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this basic necessity.  Support the efforts of those working towards greater accessibility of this essential resource, and make simple changes such as not wasting water. Carefully using this precious resource and minimizing waste, such as by remembering to turn off the water faucet while brushing your teeth or washing dishes, can help.

 

Shelter the homeless

There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home.  Go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them seek a resolution to the challenges they face. Consider donating your time or money to a local homeless shelter.

 

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. Spend time volunteering at a nursing home, or take time on a weekend to visit with an elderly relative or neighbor.

 

Visit those in prison

People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God. Volunteer or donate to charities that support prisoners and their families.

 

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. Send a card to someone who has recently lost a loved one, or visit the cemetery and pray for those you have lost.

 

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.

 

“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 25:35-36

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