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The Works of Mercy — as explained by Father Connell’s  ‘The New Baltimore Catechism No.3, published by Benzinger Brothers, Inc. in 1943:

To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves we must keep the Commandments of God; (keep the Commandments) of the Church; and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:

  • 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 chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:

  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries, and
  • Pray for the living and dead

On admonishing a sinner: We are bound to admonish a sinner when his fault is grave or is liable to lead to grave evils, provided we have some influence or authority over him, and have reason to believe that our warning (always done charitably: to help and not to hurt) will turn him from his sin.

Question: Is every one obliged to perform the works of mercy? Answer: (Yes) every one is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor.

All the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ. By ‘doing something in the name of Christ’ is meant: ‘doing it out of love of God’.

Question: How do we know that even little deeds done for our neighbor out of love of God will be rewarded? Answer: We know… because our Lord tells us that even a cup of water given in His name will not be without a reward (Matthew Chapter 10 Verse 42).

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