Practice the works of mercy daily, Pope says at general audience
October 12, 2016
During his October 12 general audience, Pope Francis called upon pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Reflecting on Mt. 25:31-36, the Pope said that “during this Holy Year of Mercy, we have reflected on God’s mercy, revealed especially in the incarnation of his Son, and on our duty, as followers of Jesus, to be merciful like the Father,” in the words of the official English-language synthesis of his remarks.
In Saint Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord tells us that we will be judged by the mercy we show to him, present in the least of our brothers and sisters. His words have inspired the seven traditional “corporal” works of mercy – feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, healing the sick, visiting the imprisoned and burying the dead.
The Church’s tradition also adds seven “spiritual” works of mercy – counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offences, bearing patiently those who do us ill, and praying for the living and the dead.
“As expressions of living faith, these works are often carried out quietly and with simple gestures,” he added. “Yet, as saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta show us, they reveal the merciful face of Christ and can change the culture around us. Let us keep them always in mind and strive to practice them daily.”
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