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The Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are important teachings in the Catholic faith. They help us understand how to care for others’ spiritual needs. When young people learn about these works, they gain valuable lessons on how to support and guide others. This helps them grow in their faith and become caring members of the community.

By exploring the Spiritual Works of Mercy, youth can learn the importance of kindness and compassion. These teachings show them how to listen, give good advice, and comfort those who are sad or struggling. Learning about these works encourages young people to think of others and not just themselves.

Involving youth in the Spiritual Works of Mercy can also build their confidence and skills in helping others. They learn how to handle difficult situations with grace and wisdom. This can be especially important as they face their own challenges growing up.

Finally, learning about these spiritual works connects youth with the wider community and the Church. They feel more connected to other people and to God. This can be a strong foundation for a lifelong journey of faith and service.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy with Examples

Counsel the doubtful

Give advice to those who are not sure what to believe or what to do. Help them feel more certain and supported.

  • Do you know somebody experiencing a faith crisis? Offer them your support.
  • Be there to listen and offer advice when friends are unsure about personal decisions.
  • Ask somebody who has stopped going to Sunday mass to come with you this weekend.
  • Encourage peers to talk to a trusted adult, youth minister, or priest when they feel lost.
  • Share your own experiences of overcoming doubts with friends who are struggling.
  • Write encouraging notes to friends who are facing tough choices.

Instruct the ignorant

Teach others what you know about faith and right behavior. Help your friends understand things they might not know about being good and kind.

  • Lead a study group for classmates who need help with their school subjects.
  • Share faith-based stories or teachings with younger children during Sunday school.
  • Create simple videos about important values and share them on social media.
  • Offer to help a friend understand a difficult concept they struggle with.
  • Volunteer with your Parish School of Religion (PSR or CCD) or with Children’s Liturgy of the Word at your parish
  • Pick up a YouCat or DoCat and read some of it every day so you can explain your faith to others.

Admonish the sinner

Gently tell others when they are doing something wrong. Help them choose better actions in a kind way.

  • Remind friends about the importance of being honest if you see them cheating on a test.
  • Speak up if you see someone bullying or being mean to others.
  • Encourage friends to apologize when they hurt someone else.
  • Discuss the consequences of bad actions in a group setting, like a youth group.
  • Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a group. Encourage someone who is hesitant to join you.

Comfort the sorrowing

Help people who are sad or having a hard time. Listen to them and be there to make them feel better.

  • Sit with a friend who is sad and simply listen to their worries.
  • Send a card or message to someone who is going through a tough time.
  • Bake cookies and take them to a recent widow or widower.
  • Offer a spiritual bouquet to parents who have recently lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Offer to spend time doing a fun activity with someone who feels down.
  • Bring up happy memories when talking to someone who is feeling sad.

Forgive offenses willingly

If someone hurts you, try to forgive them without holding a grudge. This helps you and them move on.

  • Choose to let go of anger after an argument and move on.
  • Talk openly with someone who has hurt you to clear up misunderstandings.
  • Practice saying “I forgive you” either out loud or in your heart when someone apologizes.
  • Write a letter of forgiveness, even if you don’t send it, to help you process your feelings.
  • Write down some grudges you are holding on to. Burn them in a fire.

Bear wrongs patiently

When someone treats you unfairly, try to be patient and forgive them. Don’t react with anger.

  • Stay calm when someone says something hurtful instead of reacting angrily.
  • Use deep breathing or counting to ten when you feel upset by someone’s actions.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust instead of holding them inside.
  • Keep a journal to express your feelings when you feel treated unfairly.
  • Pray for somebody who you find especially frustrating.
  • When you think of somebody who you feel has wronged you, come up with three things you like about that person.

Pray for the living and the dead

Pray for everyone, including those who are still with us and those who have passed away. Your prayers can bring peace and help.

  • Include intentions for both the living and the dead in your nightly prayers.
  • Visit a cemetery and pray for those who have passed away.
  • Offer a Mass intention for a friend or family member who needs prayers.
  • Create a prayer circle with friends to pray for each other and for deceased loved ones.
  • Pray for the students and young adults you know, that they might discern their vocation.

More Resources

Corporal Works of Mercy

Corporal Works of Mercy

Just as we’ve explored the Spiritual Works of Mercy, it’s also valuable to learn about the Corporal Works of Mercy, which focus on meeting people’s physical needs. These acts of kindness can truly make a difference in the lives of others. To understand more about how to help those in need with practical actions, you can read about the Corporal Works of Mercy. This guide provides simple and clear explanations, making it easy to start putting these merciful acts into practice.

Questions and Answers about the Spiritual Works of Mercy

What are the Spiritual Works of Mercy?

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can take to help others spiritually. They guide us to be kind, forgiving, and supportive to those around us.

Why are the Spiritual Works of Mercy important?

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are important because they help us care for the spiritual well-being of others. By practicing these works, we grow in our own faith and help others do the same.

Can children perform the Spiritual Works of Mercy?

Yes, children can perform the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Simple acts like forgiving others, praying for family and friends, and comforting someone who is upset are ways children can practice these works.

How can I teach the Spiritual Works of Mercy?

To teach the Spiritual Works of Mercy, start by explaining each one clearly. Use real-life examples to show how these actions can be done every day. You can also encourage practice by setting good examples and doing these works together.

Do the Spiritual Works of Mercy only apply to Catholics?

While the Spiritual Works of Mercy are part of Catholic teaching, the ideas behind them can be appreciated by anyone. They promote kindness, empathy, and support, which are valuable to all communities.


The Spiritual Works of Mercy are a set of actions that guide us to help others spiritually. These actions include instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving offenses willingly, comforting the afflicted, and praying for the living and the dead. Each work encourages us to act with kindness, patience, and understanding towards others, which helps us grow in faith and compassion.

Practicing the Spiritual Works of Mercy leads to stronger community bonds. By teaching, forgiving, and comforting others, we make our community a more supportive and caring place. These works also help us develop personal virtues such as patience and empathy, essential for personal growth and spiritual maturity.

These actions are practical ways to improve how we interact with each other every day. When we engage in the Spiritual Works of Mercy, we contribute to the well-being of those around us, enhancing our relationships with them and with God, and fostering a more empathetic society.

Your Turn

Let’s make the Spiritual Works of Mercy a practical part of our lives!

Share your ideas in the comments on how you teach and carry out these works with the youth. Whether it’s through storytelling, community projects, or personal examples, your suggestions can inspire others. Help us build a community that uplifts everyone through these compassionate actions.

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