Mercy is such a big idea in Catholicism. We love mercy! We have the devotion of Divine Mercy, at every Mass we ask for mercy, we have confession to obtain mercy, and we are asked to give mercy toward others. So, what’s mercy? The Church actually divides the concept of mercy into two groups: Spiritual & Corporal. For today & tomorrow, we’ll go over what these two types are and what it looks like to give mercy to others and also what it looks like to receive mercy from others & God.
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There are seven spiritual works of mercy: to admonish the sinner, to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive all injuries, to pray for the living and the dead.
Spiritual works of mercy are geared toward the soul of a person. Now there is something important to note. Even though we are all called to perform these acts, the first three are may not be capable by all and therefore not obligated to the faithful. They require proper knowledge and learning of the faith to tactfully do these spiritual works. We read a very good article recently – it mentioned that if you really want to be unpopular, even to “run the risk of getting punched in the face” try to admonish someone today. Call someone out for getting drunk this past weekend, engage in a violent protest in front of an abortion clinic, try explaining to your friend how living with her boyfriend is harmful to herself & him not only spiritually, but psychologically too. In a “I’m ok-You’re-ok” society, the acts of admonishing, instructing, and counseling others can come off as intolerant, close-minded, or condescending. Though some situations should be left for the more prepared, we are all called to talk with the ones we love when we see themselves harming themselves spiritually. Scripture says we are responsible for the sins of others if we do not share the truth with them. Their sins become our sins!! But there is an important guideline that we can remember when having those tough conversations – we cannot scare people from hell, we must love them to heaven. We cannot just point out their faults – this will always come off as condescending! We must show love, care, & understanding – through this we will be compassionate and show Christ’s true way of love.
The last four, however, are required by all the faithful to practice unconditionally: comfort the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive, and pray for the living and the dead. These are things we can all do, through God’s grace, at any time. We know we've listed a lot of verses today, but we encourage you to spend time reading each. And since we've spent the past week talking about forgiveness, grace, and charity (true love for another's soul & well-being) - take some time in prayer today, asking Jesus to show how you are called to the last 4 types of spiritual mercy.
How is God speaking to you in this post or today's reading? Enter a comment below or click HERE if you are reading from your phone. (Commenting is optional, but always grace-filled.) Thank you for letting us into your life and for being a part of ours!