The Corporal Works of Mercy
(Part 2 of a 2 part series taken from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website)
The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They “are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs” (USCCA). 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. Have your own suggestions? Let us know @USCCB and use the hashtag #mercyinmotion.
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 – Get creative and make use of your talents (e.g. sing, read, paint, call Bingo, etc.)!
Take time on a Saturday to stop and visit with an elderly neighbor.
Offer to assist caregivers of chronically sick family members on a one-time or periodic basis. Give caregivers time off from their care-giving responsibilities so they can rest, complete personal chores, or enjoy a relaxing break.
Next time you make a meal that can be easily frozen, make a double batch and give it to a family in your parish who has a sick loved one.
Visit the Prisoners
People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God. No matter what someone has done, they deserve the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ.
See if your parish, or a nearby parish, has a prison ministry and if so, get involved.
Volunteer to help out or donate to charities that give Christmas presents to children whose parents are in prison.
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. Make your own card and use some of these prayers.
Visit the cemetery and pray for those you have lost.
Spend time planning your own funeral mass, read through the Order of Christian Funerals and find our hope in the Resurrection.
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.
Participate in Operation Rice Bowl. . .