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Works of mercy

Meritorious works or acts in morals / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Works of mercy (sometimes known as acts of mercy) are practices considered meritorious in Christian ethics.

Caritas, The Seven Acts of Mercy, pen and ink drawing by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1559. Anticlockwise from lower right: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, ransom the captive, bury the dead, shelter the stranger, comfort the sick, and clothe the naked.

The practice is popular in the Catholic Church as an act of both penance and charity. In addition, the Methodist church teaches that the works of mercy are a means of grace which lead to holiness[1] and aid in sanctification.[2]

The works of mercy have been traditionally divided into two categories, each with seven elements:[3][4]

  1. "Corporal works of mercy" which concern the material and physical needs of others.
  2. "Spiritual works of mercy" which concern the spiritual needs of others.

Pope John Paul II issued a papal encyclical "Dives in misericordia" on 30 November 1980 declaring that "Jesus Christ taught that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but that he is also called 'to practice mercy' towards others."[5] Another notable devotion associated with the works of mercy is the Divine Mercy, which derives from apparitions of Jesus Christ to Saint Faustina Kowalska.

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