Spiritual Works of Mercy

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind
~Matthew 22:37

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The facing page refers to ways in which we at Holy Spirit Parish will observe – as a Community – the Corporal Works of Mercy during each week of Lent. These are a venerable and ancient practice coming directly from the Scriptures. In our materialist age, what we can sometimes miss is their counterparts known as the Spiritual Works of Mercy:

1. To admonish the sinner.

2. To instruct the ignorant.

3. To counsel the doubtful.

4. To comfort the sorrowful.

5. To bear wrongs patiently.

6. To forgive all injuries.

7. To pray for the living and the dead.


The Spiritual Works of Mercy address human suffering (due to original sin) from a different perspective than do the Corporal Works. We can’t excuse ourselves from doing these works as best we can, for the needs of others. The best approach is doing them in Jesus’ name, and accompanied by prayer. The Corporal Works are clear, the Spiritual Works need some explanation. What follows below is from Holy Spirit Church in Naperville, Illinois.


The Love Within the Spiritual Works of Mercy


1. To admonish the sinner.  It is an act of love to try to make others realize how bad sin is.  This might be done by trying to keep them out of sin or an occasion of sin, or by trying to get them to confession.  In cases where we think it might make things worse, we do not correct directly.  We can let them know indirectly, especially by example that we think certain actions to be wrong and harmful.


2. To instruct the ignorant. It is an act of love to help others learn the truths of Faith for the good of soul and body.


3. To counsel the doubtful.  It is an act of love to help others to be certain about what they should do to love and serve God.  Many souls could be saved if Catholics would make the effort to speak the truth in love to their neighbors.


4. To comfort the sorrowful.  It is an act of love to help another person in any kind of sorrow, and to refrain from doing anything that would unnecessarily cause another person more sorrow.


5. To bear wrongs patiently.  It is an act of love to accept the consequences of another’s thoughtlessness or carelessness and to suffer inconveniences which another should bear.  This is the example given to us by Jesus who suffered greatly for us all when he was innocent.


6. To forgive all injuries.  It is an act of deep love to forgive all those who have injured us in any way, even deliberately and with malice.  Christ demands that His followers have great love and forgiveness for one another and even for our enemies in imitation of His own forgiveness of us and of His enemies as He hung on the cross.  In His almighty wisdom, God knows that failing to forgive causes further injury to the person originally injured.


7. To pray for the living and the dead.  Sharing in the communion of saints demands that we pray for everyone.  This is a great means of spreading the fires of love to others, whether in this world or in purgatory.  Prayers for the dead at a cemetery carry special graces.

Jesus and Saint Faustina




Heart, Soul and Mind

Monsignor Royal's weekly column as featured in our bulletin.


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