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7 SPIRITUAL & 7 CORPORAL

 

WORKS OF MERCY

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2447 reads:

 

The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244

 

He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.245 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.246 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?247

 

242 cf. Isaiah 58:6-7; Hebrews 13:3.

243 cf. Matthew 25:31-46.

244 cf. Tobit 4:5-11; Sirach 17:22; Matthew 6:2-4.

245 Luke 3:11.

246 Luke 11:41.

247 James 2:15-16; cf. 1 John 3:17.

 

 

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THE 7 CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY

 

The Corporal Works of Mercy are oriented toward the body. Six of the seven are mentioned in Matthew 25:31-40 - although not precisely - as the reason for the salvation of the saved, while Matthew 25:41-46 exhorts the omission of them as the reason for damnation. As deprivation of burial was viewed with horror by the Jews, the seventh Corporal Work of Mercy (Tobit 1:17-19) was later added.

 

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy & Holy Scripture references are:

 

Feed the Hungry

Proverbs 22:9

Isaiah 58:10

2 Kings 4:42-44

Matthew 14:15-21; 25:35

Luke 3:11; 9:12-17

John 6:35

Give Drink to the Thirsty

Isaiah 55:1

Matthew 25:35

John 6:35

John 7:37-39

Revelation 21:6; 22:17

Clothe the Naked

Matthew 25:36

Shelter the Homeless

Matthew 25:35

Visit the Sick

Matthew 25:36

Visit the Imprisoned

Matthew 25:36

Bury the Dead

Tobit 1:17-19

 

See also Isaiah 58:7, Ezekiel 18:7 & Ezekiel 18:16.

 

THE 7 SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY

 

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are oriented toward the soul. Though ideally applicable for all faithful, not everyone is considered capable or obligated to perform the first three Spiritual Works of Mercy before they possess the proper tact, knowledge or canonical training to do so. The remaining four Spiritual Works of Mercy are considered to be an obligation of all faithful to practice unconditionally.

 

The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy & Holy Scripture references are:

 

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