Yielding from the Virtue of Charity which calls a man to love God and love his neighbor (CCC 1822) is the fruit of “mercy” (CCC 1829), a type of love which selflessly ignores offenses by others and fills a man with compassion that recognizes and seeks to alleviate the suffering of another. As directed by Jesus Christ, who is Divine Mercy, the Holy Catholic Church urges every Catholic man to regularly perform Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Jesus Christ, the Savior of Man, comes to men in the Incarnation in the ultimate mission of mercy, to save men from sin, death and the eternal agony of Hell. Throughout the Incarnation, Jesus through His numerous words and deeds, perfectly and abundantly demonstrates mercy, commands that every Catholic man must perform works of mercy to receive salvation, and establishes His Church so that men might receive the mercy of God.
The Incarnation is a continual demonstration of Mercy
The entirety of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a mission of Divine Mercy, for Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of God’s Mercy and continually performs works of mercy for the Salvation of Man.
The Incarnation is a mission of mercy
In His infinite mercy, the Almighty Father desires that no man suffer the eternal agony of Hell (CCC 1037) and sends His only beloved Son into the world so that no man might perish but have eternal life through the Son’s brutal sacrificial death on the Cross (Jn 3:16; CCC 571).
The Almighty Father, by giving up His Son for the Salvation of Man confirms the Father is “rich in mercy” (CCC 211) and demonstrates His mercy and power byPUttin being willing to forgive the sins of the repentant (CCC 271, 545, 1439, 1846-1848). There are no limits to the Infinite Mercy of God but every man who desires to receive God’s mercy must repent from his sins and accept God’s mercy (CCC 1864); those who fail to repent but presume to receive God’s mercy commit a grave sin against the Virtue of Hope (CCC 2092). Jesus, through His necessary and willing death on the Cross to alleviate the suffering of men, confirms that every man must rely on the mercy of God.
Jesus confirms that men must be merciful
In His first words of His first public sermon, the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7), Jesus confirms that every Catholic man must be merciful if he wishes to find happiness (Mt 5:7; CCC 1716). Jesus reveals His mercy and the mercy of His Almighty Father who invites sinners to repent (CCC 545, 589) and that He desires that men be merciful to others (Mt 9:13, 12:7).
Jesus reveals the Infinite Mercy of the Almighty Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-24; CCC 1439) and the need for men to respond to the Father’s generous offer of mercy to receive it in the Parable of the Marriage Feast (Mt 22:1-10; CCC 546); men who repent and rely on God’s mercy can receive God’s grace (Lk 18:9-14). Jesus also gives frightening warnings about the eternal punishment and agony for men who fail to be merciful to others in the Parable of the Unmerciful Slave (Mt 18:23-35), the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Lk 16:19-31), and the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Mt 25:31-46).
Jesus continually performs works of mercy
Jesus repeatedly responds to those who cry out for His mercy (Mt 9:27, 15:21, 17:15, Mk 10:48; CCC 2631, 2680) and the Church reveals that those who rely on the mercy of God can be healed (CCC 2616, 2667).
Jesus performs many Corporal Works of Mercy
Throughout the Incarnation, Jesus offers spectacular examples of Corporal Works of Mercy including feeding the hungry (Mt 14:13-21, 15:32-39), commanding men to give water to the thirsty (Mt 10:42), to clothe the naked and give alms to the poor (Lk 3:11, 11:41), visiting and healing the sick of every kind of malady (Mt 4:23-25; see “Jesus Christ is the Savior of Man” for a comprehensive list p __), and miraculously raising the dead (Lk 7:11-17, 8:40-56, Jn 11:44).
Jesus performs many Spiritual Works of Mercy
Jesus also performs many Spiritual Works of Mercy including instructing the ignorant (Mt 28:19-20), counseling the doubtful (Jn 3:1-21), admonishing sinners (Mk 8:33), bearing wrongs patiently in the Passion, forgiving offenses (Lk 23:34), and comforting the afflicted (Mk 5:1-20).
Jesus’ ultimate work of mercy is His sacrificial death on the Cross to save mankind (Mk 10:45; CCC 1815); He descends into Hell and mercifully leads the righteous dead to Heaven (CCC 632-637).
Jesus commands men to perform Works of Mercy
Jesus demonstrates the perfection of love and, acting as the Son of God, gives men a “new commandment” to “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:9,12). In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:31-46), Jesus reveals that love requires actual works of mercy and confirms He will hold men accountable at the Judgment for their works of mercy (CCC 1038):
“ ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me…Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Jesus establishes the Church to extend God’s mercy to Catholics
Jesus extends God’s mercy to the faithful across the ages through His Holy Catholic Church. Jesus teaches men to pray, particularly in the Our Father which petitions God to help men to be merciful to those who trespass (Mt 6:12; CCC 2839-2840, 2842, 2862).
Jesus offers men mercy through the Sacraments
Through His gracious mercy, Jesus Christ endowed the Church with the Sacraments, which give men a way to directly receive the mercy of God. Through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, God graciously offers men mercy by adopting and strengthening them as His sons (CCC 1265). In the Sacrament of Penance, men are blessed by the “Father of Mercies” to be forgiven of their sins (CCC 1422-1424, 1449). In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, men are graced by the mercy of God to receive the actual Body and Blood of the Son of God and the many fruits of Holy Communion (CCC 1391-1401). In the Sacrament of Matrimony, God’s mercy is graciously given to a husband and wife so they might be shielded from the wounds of sin and drawn together in union (CCC 1608-1609). In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, men who are ill are strengthened in their struggle by the mercy by God (CCC1513). Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders the mercy of God is poured out through His bishops, priests and deacons upon the people through His Church and the Sacraments (CCC 1592-1593).
Jesus sends the Holy Spirit as an act of Mercy
After His Resurrection, Jesus Christ mercifully sends the Holy Spirit into the souls of men during their Baptism, offering them the great mercy to receive the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit on their pilgrimage towards Heaven (CCC 1830-1832). In His mercy, not only did Jesus open up Heaven for the Saints, but mercifully allows every Catholic man who fails to become a Saint while on earth, but who dies in a state of grace, the blessing to become a Saint who is purified in Purgatory (CCC 1030-1032). To reduce or eliminate the just temporal punishment for a man’s sins in Purgatory, the Father of Mercies offers through the Church the merciful blessing of Indulgences (CCC 1478).
Christ’s Church urges men to perform Works of Mercy
Since the Ascension, the Church has never ceased to urge men to continually perform the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy (CCC 2447), charitable actions by which men come to the aid of neighbors in their corporal (Latin corporalis, meaning “body”) and spiritual needs. The Works of Mercy performed by the men of Jesus Christ bear witness to Him and failing to perform the Works of Mercy is a sinful act of omission (CCC 1853).