Do you know the spiritual works of mercy?

In our Bible Study last Tuesday, we honed in on the main connection between this Sunday’s readings: “admonish the sinner.” This is one of the spiritual works of mercy that we are called to perform. In the first reading, the Lord says through the prophet Ezekiel, “speak out to dissuade the wicked.” And, in the Gospel, the Lord Jesus taught the Apostles, “go and tell (your brother who sins) his fault.” We know and live the corporal works of mercy well:

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Ransom the captive
  • Bury the dead

But, how well do we know the spiritual works of mercy? The following write-up on them from should help.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

More about Spiritual Works of Mercy


Everyone has moments of doubt in their faith journey. Nevertheless, we should always remember that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and turn to him along our way.

  • Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may eventually become wise” (Prov 19:20)
  • The Cross of Christ “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor 1:25)
  • Has someone asked you for advice? Orient your response to Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • Follow Christ with the witness of your life so that others may see God’s love revealed in your actions
  • Accompany a friend who is struggling with believing to join a parish group for service or faith formation, share a book you found useful in dealing with your friend’s faith concern, and worship at Sunday Mass


Learn about our faith and be open to talking with others about our beliefs. There is always something more to discover about our faith.

  • Go on a service trip or short-term mission trip. No time? Donate to support someone on their service trip
  • Volunteer to help with religious education programs at your parish
  • Invite someone to go to mass with you this weekend
  • Know your faith! Read through the USCCA to find out more about the Catholic faith and how to live it


Do not judge, but be supportive in helping others find their way and correct their mistakes. Together we can learn to walk more closely with Christ.

  • In humility, we must strive to create a culture that does not accept sin, while realizing that we all fall at times
  • Don’t judge, but guide others towards the path of salvation (see Mt 7:1-2)
  • When you correct someone, don’t be arrogant. We are all in need of God’s loving correction.
  • We should journey together to a deeper understanding of our shared faith
  • “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” (Mt 7:5)


Be open to listening and comforting those who are dealing with grief. Even if we aren’t sure of the right words to say, our presence can make a big difference.

  • Lend a listening ear to those going through a tough time
  • Make a home cooked meal for a friend who is facing a difficult time
  • Write a letter or send a card to someone who is suffering
  • A few moments of your day may make a lifetime of difference to someone who is going through a difficult time


Forgiving others is difficult at times because we do not have God’s limitless mercy and compassion. But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, relying on him to help us show others the mercy of God.

  • Let go of grudges
  • Saying sorry is something we learn as kids, but how often do we really mean it? Forgiveness transforms hearts and lives
  • Participate in the Sacrament of Penance
  • Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet


Do not be bitter about wrongs done against you. Place your hope in God so that you can endure the troubles of this world and face them with a compassionate spirit.

  • Frustrated with someone? Step away from the situation, take a few deep breaths, pray the Our Father, asking God for patience


Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we can support others. Joining together in prayer for the living and the dead entrusts us all into God’s care.

  • Request a mass intention for a friend or family member who is going through a tough time
  • Request a mass intention for a friend or family member who has passed away
  • Keep your own book of prayer intentions, writing down the names of those who you are keeping in your prayers
  • Ask a friend or family member if there is anything you can pray for them about
  • Through prayer, entrust your cares and concerns for those around you to God

Speak the Truth in Love

Going off of last week’s column, here are some practical examples of how to live the spiritual works of mercy, particularly “admonish sinners” and “instruct the uninformed.” Many of you have asked me how to speak to your children and grandchildren about the faith. Having worked with young people for many years in ministry, these are the most common exchanges I have had with them about the basics of living the Catholic faith. Hopefully, these will be helpful and fruitful for you, your families, and our parish.

Mostly, these are initial responses that often lead to long conversations. It’s really just to give you some kind of answer to tough questions. I’m happy to expound on them if you would like. But, especially in this age of sound bites, it’s good to have a quick, one-line response when possible that is easy to remember. Some of these responses are biting, but effective. It’s important to present and defend the truth, but always to do it in love. Otherwise, the focus turns to the messenger and not the message.

Speak the truth in love.

If you are not asked these questions, then how do you start the conversation? First, pray that God provides an opportunity. If you can’t talk to them about God, talk to God about them! Second, be ready for the opportunity. Read what I have written here and ask me for more reading on the subjects. You might even send them a book, pamphlet, or article from the internet, and ask them what they think. Don’t be afraid to bring Christ to their world!

I’ll go to the next level of questions next week.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

“Why do we have to go to Mass?”
  1. Because God says so!

a. “Keep holy the Sabbath” (3rd Commandment).

b. “Take this all of you and eat it”. (Last Supper).

2. To get to Heaven!

a. You need the Eucharist to get to Heaven. The main reason we go to Mass is to receive the Eucharist. Jesus said that “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life within you” (Jn 6:53-54). Mass is where we can receive the Eucharist.

3. It’s not so much that we have to go, it’s that we GET to go. Holy Mass is a gift!

“But I don’t feel like going to Mass”

Jesus didn’t feel like getting on the Cross.

“Mass is so boring”

Do you know what happens at Mass? It’s amazing! The bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. The same flesh and blood that were on the Cross.  Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross becomes truly present to us, and we are like witnesses to Calvary. Was anyone at the Crucifixion on Good Friday saying, “this is so boring?”

“I am spiritual but not religious”

That is like saying, “I love my wife but I don’t spend any time with her.”

“I’m too busy for church or prayer”
  1. I know that you are busy, and that you work very hard. But you still find time to be with your friends, watch TV, go on Facebook, and attend social events. Jesus was a busy guy, and he found time to pray every day!
  2. Prayer is like a habit that we make time for every day. Just like you make time for eating, sleeping, showering, and brushing your teeth every day when you’re busy, you can make time for prayer every day.