Copyright 2016 Celeste Zepponi. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 Celeste Zepponi. All rights reserved.

“God has not called me to be successful. He called me to be faithful.”  - Mother Teresa

Part 2: Spiritual Works of Mercy

In my previous post I wrote about opportunities in our daily lives that can help us embrace this wonderful Year of Mercy. It is exciting to realize we can receive extra mercies during this year. We can also, by the power of the Holy Spirit, become vessels delivering God’s mercies in extraordinary ways during this year dedicated by Pope Francis as the Extraordinary Year of Mercy!

Having examined in my last post the Corporal Works of Mercy which primarily affect the body, this post looks deeper into the Spiritual Works of Mercy which deal primarily with the spirit and the mind.

Juggling the idea of Spiritual Works of Mercy can be overwhelming so as in my last post, once again, I find clarity in the words of Mother Teresa. Her words are immensely comforting, freeing, and inspiring. But most importantly, her words are motivating!

“God has not called me to be successful. He called me to be faithful.” Mother Teresa

Unbound by obscure definitions of success, we are completely free to spend our energies on something we can actually accomplish. We can be faithful. We can administer the gifts, resting the outcomes completely in God’s hands.

Armed with Mother Teresa’s commission to be faithful, let us clothe ourselves with Christ’s LOVE as we approach our commission to participate in the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

1. Correct the sinner:

St. Paul reminds us to "speak the truth in love." (Eph 4:15) Actions speak louder than words. First and foremost, by example, we have opportunities to “speak the truth in love.” Do we encourage others to avoid occasions of sin by steering clear of situations, conversations, and habits that lead to sin? We ourselves are in constant need of healing and forgiveness. We experience bountiful opportunities to demonstrate the healing power of confession, the Holy Mass, and the consolations of time spent in prayer.

Let’s ask ourselves:

Do I know someone living in serious sin? Have I prayed that they turn from sin? Have I asked God to give me the grace of words and actions that will bless and encourage them?

Love calls us to care, to correct the sinner because we love, not because we condemn. Jesus never condemns, but invites us into repentance and healing. How can I be a vessel of this Heavenly mercy?

How can I help someone to desire the healing touch of Jesus? What one step can I take today, this week, that will  demonstrate my commitment toward the Spiritual Works of Mercy?

2. Instruct the uninformed:

We best share our faith by understanding and appreciating the truths and teachings of our faith. Knowing about God’s love creates hope and brings deeper meaning into our lives. Especially with today’s technology, there is an abundance of educational materials available covering endless topics about the Catholic faith. Studying the traditions of our church, the lives of the saints, the role of our church in today’s culture, and researching why we believe what we believe is exciting and inviting to others.

Let’s ask ourselves:

Have I given any thought of my responsibilities to talk about my faith in the most ordinary circumstances of my daily life?

Do my actions and speech reflect the values and truths of what I profess to believe?

Does my life mirror joy and holiness in a way that would encourage someone to want to know more about my faith?

3&4. Counsel the doubtful and comfort the sorrowful:

There are times when we all experience confusion and sorrow in our lives. During these times we greatly benefit from the gift of someone who shares God’s love by being with us. Sometimes our presence is enough; words are not necessary. Other times we need to talk and have someone help us process our fears, doubts and sorrows. A counselor, loved one, or trusted friend willing to listen and pray with us allows us to find peace through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s ask ourselves:

Do I really listen to others and genuinely care about their sorrows and concerns?

Am I willing to spend the gift of time with someone who is in need of comfort?

Do I believe my prayers for this person make a difference?

5 &6.  Bear wrongs patiently and forgive all injuries:

When someone has hurt us, especially if we feel the hurt was intentional, it can be very hard to forgive. Each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we pray these words:  “… and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus himself taught us this prayer. Jesus asks us to forgive others as completely as He forgives all our sins. Forgiveness protects us from bitterness and unhappiness. Forgiveness is a spiritual act of mercy. It is the decision of our will to forgive that pleases God and He in turn provides the grace we need to let go and truly forgive.

Let’s ask ourselves:

Have I allowed myself to grow bitter or better?

Do I turn to the Lord and ask for the grace I need to truly forgive when I have been offended?

Am I willing to receive Christ’s healing and accept His gift of peace?

7.  Pray for the living and the dead:

Prayer is a powerful act of spiritual mercy. Daily prayer is an act of worship, an acknowledgement of God’s presence and worthiness of our time and attention. It is also a time of petitioning God’s mercy for ourselves and others. God hears and answers our prayers. The greatest prayer is the Holy Mass. During the Holy Mass we pray for all those living as well as all those who have died. God is not bound by time and space and it is not too late to pray for those who have gone before us as they too pray for us. Though we may be physically separated from our brothers and sisters in Christ through death of the body, we believe in eternal life and that we will all be united as members of the communion of saints. In the book of Maccabbees, we are reminded, “it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” 2 Maccabees 12:46 (DRA).

Let’s ask ourselves:

Do I give thanks and praise for answered prayers?

Do I take time to be alone with God in silence and remember the needs of others, presenting their needs to the Lord?

Do I pray for the souls in purgatory?


Let us Pray to the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to

cherish these Spiritual Works of Mercy!


Memorize this quote: 

“God has not called me to be successful.

He called me to be faithful.” Mother Teresa


Copyright  2016 Celeste Zepponi