In today’s Gospel reading Jesus urged us to be like trees that bear good fruit. Of course, by that he means that we should make it our vocation to do as much good as we are can. In Catholic tradition such doing good is itemized as the Seven Corporal and the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy. Let’s just review them.
Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
1. Feed the hungry. 2. Give drink to the thirsty. 3. Clothe the naked. 4. Harbor the harborless. 5. Visit the sick. 6. Ransom the captive. 7. Bury the dead.
Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
1. Instruct the ignorant. 2. Counsel the doubtful. 3. Admonish sinners. 4. Bear wrongs patiently. 5. Forgive offenses willingly. 6. Comfort the afflicted. 7. Pray for the living and the dead.
Let me introduce a personal note. For a year or so I have been saying fifteen decades of the Rosary every morning, but in place of the traditional Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries I have been meditating on the eight Beatitudes and the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Today I launched on another set of mysteries meditating on the seven Corporal Works of Mercy and the Seven Spiritual Works of Mystery. To make up the fifteenth I use something from one of St. Peter’s Letters. He said, “Honor all men.”
I can’t here and now practice some of those works of mercy, but I can prepare myself to practice them when the occasion arises.