These are the foundation of Lampstand’s work, and this article from Integrated Catholic Life is a very nice reflection on them.
It used to be required that all young Catholics memorize the Works of Mercy as an ever-present mandate for how we are to live. But nowadays, memorization is forgotten and most people only know a couple of the Corporal Works. Do you remember—feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, bury the dead? Yet, our world is in desperate need of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, so perhaps we should bring back that memorization practice to our Sunday School programs. Do you agree?
The Corporal Works address poverty and the physical needs of our neighbors. But the Spiritual Works of Mercy are equally important and these works call us to love souls.
•Admonish the sinner (Colossians 3:16)
•Instruct the ignorant (Jude 1:23)
•Counsel the doubtful
•Comfort the sorrowful (Isaiah 66:13)
•Bear wrongs patiently (Colossians 3:12)
•Forgive all injuries
•Pray for the living and the dead
Certainly Jesus instructed, counseled and comforted. He also admonished sinners, calling some “vipers” and telling the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” When Jesus was mocked and tortured, He was forgiving. And He often withdrew to quiet places for prayer. Our Church teaches that these acts of mercy are partnered with the Corporal Works because these acts steer others toward heaven.
There has been a lot of conversation in Catholic blogging circles about whether it is ever appropriate, in the modern world, to “judge” others. The most often quoted Scripture is, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” But judgment, properly understood and exercised, is a necessary part of love and prudence.
Retrieved January 23, 2014 from http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/01/costello-works-of-mercy/