Bury the Dead

While nothing we do could compensate for the loss experienced by family members, this reflection explores how a well-executed and honorable funeral and burial service not only provide great comfort and support to the families but are also works of mercy. Continue reading

Forgive Injuries Willingly

Commander Amy Hunt, US Navy writes about a pilgrimage to Rwanda and how seeing a genocide survivor forgive those who wronged her demonstrated the spiritual work of mercy “Forgive Injuries Willingly.” Continue reading

Comforting the Afflicted

Air Force Captain Cary Balser writes about how comforting the afflicted is a spiritual work of mercy that we can practice every day by living intentionally and carrying out small acts of love towards those around us. Date: 9/14/2016 Continue reading

Visit the Imprisoned

Jesus Christ came to set the captives free from the prisons of fear, sin, and indifference so that we all can live free and authentic Christian lives. A few weeks ago, I went to an exhibit in New York City titled, “A People, A Face, A Newness in Everyday Rubble” about Christians in the Middle East. It featured the stories of persecuted Iraqi and Syrian Christians who fled their homes and are now living as refugees in various camps in Jordan. Continue reading

Visit the Sick

Visiting the sick brings the much needed gift of love to those who suffer illness. Love. It is a simple four letter word that we have been seemingly unable to avoid since the nursery rhymes of kindergarten. Yet for both the sick and healthy alike love is a far more powerful medicine than any science, … Continue reading

Bear Wrongs Patiently

As I prepare to retire this summer, I reflect back over my career–my calling and the path the Lord laid out for me–filled with so much joy and so much pain. I can clearly see where the spiritual act of mercy, bearing wrongs patiently, made all the difference for my life and where I am … Continue reading

Shelter the Homeless

Pentagon, Washington, DC During our missionary trip to Calcutta, my youngest brother and I were struck by the poverty of the people there. It is palpable in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city — a million people thirsting for food, fresh water, a place to wash every morning, a roof over their head, … Continue reading

Admonish Sinners

Any fraternal correction must be based on the two greatest commandments of love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love of … Continue reading

Clothe the Naked

More than any other work of mercy, I think this is the one we find consistently difficult to extend to our own lives. There seems to be something ingrained in our modern sense of compassion where one resists giving “half of his cloak” as Martin of Tours did. We find it very natural to share … Continue reading

Counsel the Doubtful

To Counsel the Doubtful is a spiritual work of mercy which is much needed in our time. It is a beautiful and powerful service toward others that also strengthens us. When we give prayerful advice to others that advances them towards knowing, loving, and serving God in this life and reaching their eternal home with … Continue reading

Give Drink to the Thirsty

“Water from the side of Christ, wash me.” This line from the Anima Christi stuck out to me, so I wrote it on a bright yellow index card and taped it to the wall right outside my shower. I wanted to remind myself in routine daily life to think always of Christ, to turn everything … Continue reading

Instruct the Ignorant: Mary’s Example

The spiritual work of Mercy, ‘instructing the ignorant’ often conjures up ideas of studying the faith. One might take time to tutor those who are just beginning to ask questions about Catholicism or commit to sharing with family and friends more about what the Church teaches. There are also times when we are instructed about … Continue reading

Feed the Hungry: The Basket

It is a time honored tradition that Army families take care of one another, often providing meals, babysitting, or even dog walking services for those of our number who find themselves in need of a little help during difficult times. I love that about our Army, among lots of other things. But a recent request … Continue reading

The Jubilee of Mercy Begins

On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Jubilee of Mercy begins. It is fitting that, within the first month of this Jubilee, we are reminded of the gift of the Christ-child born into a family. The presence of Christ in the world reveals God’s abundant, merciful love. Through the Sacraments of the … Continue reading