Jesus Christ demonstrates not only the teaching of the Works of Mercy but the zealous and vigorous performance of the Works of Mercy as the central part of a man’s life. Every Catholic man should come to understand each of the Works of Mercy, and practice them frequently in his family, with neighbors and in his local parish; some men, based on their unique God-given talents may be called to serve God to build His Church on a greater scale including in the diocese, greater Church or even as a missionary to the broader society.
Keep the Works of Mercy top of mind
To respond to Christ’s call to perform the Works of Mercy, a man must first know, understand and remember the various Works of Mercy so that he can practice them. A good place to start is to meditate upon the Works of Mercy by prayerfully considering the descriptions above and to read other sources to be inspired and informed about how to perform the Works of Mercy.
Building on understanding, make the commitment to God to perform Works of Mercy and pray for the Almighty Father through the Son and with the Holy Spirit to guide a man as to when and how to demonstrate mercy each day in his life. Every Catholic man should review the Works of Mercy regularly and include holding himself accountable for performing Works of Mercy in his daily Examination of Conscience and when preparing to receive the Sacrament of Penance.
Perform the Works of Mercy for Family and Neighbors
Every Catholic man is called to mature into becoming a Catholic Father who leads many to become adopted children of God. For the Catholic man called to Holy Matrimony, his highest mission is to be a protector, provider and leader for his family and to lead his family to Heaven. In his role as a Catholic Father, a man is blessed and naturally must perform many Corporal Works of Mercy for his bride and his children (feeding, clothing, caring for the sick, providing shelter). Beyond the physical works of mercy, a Catholic man also has the blessing to be able to perform all the Spiritual Works of Mercy on a routine basis as he leads his family into a deeper union with Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church; a Catholic Father should regularly hold himself accountable for the Spiritual Works of Mercy for his family in his Examination of Conscience.
In addition to his own family, every Catholic man is also called to offer many Works of Mercy to his parents, siblings and extended family. While it can be difficult to perform the Spiritual Works of Mercy for those who know a man best and just how sinful he is, especially when family members are far from God, every Catholic man can be confident if he desires to cooperate with God by performing Works of Mercy and constantly seeks God’s guidance and help, he will be led and strengthened by God to know when and how to perform the Spiritual Works of Mercy with his extended family.
Through God’s mysterious and incomprehensible Divine Dominion and Providence, every Catholic man is purposefully led, whether he realizes it or not, to live in a specific time, in a specific place with specific people; there are no accidents with God, and every person a man comes into contact with are a blessing on his pilgrimage towards Heaven. Because of this, every Catholic man must be constantly aware and responsive to those neighbors and people he encounters in his life to serve God and to make Him known and loved. Every Catholic man must be continually on the lookout for ways to perform the Works of Mercy for those whom God has blessed him to meet, particularly his neighbors.
Perform Works of Mercy in the Parish
Beyond his Works of Mercy for his family and his neighbors, every Catholic man’s parish is his extended family, for every member of a parish is one of a man’s brothers or sisters in Jesus Christ. While it is often tempting to build many social networks and get involved in all sorts of community charity, every Catholic man should strongly consider focusing most of his available time and effort into serving his local Catholic parish through Works of Mercy; serving his priest and deacons and the people of his parish, strengthens the commitment and bonds of fraternity in the parish, and for most men, is one of the key ways God calls a man to build the Kingdom of God outside of his family. Importantly, by serving in his parish, every Catholic man draws his bride and children into deeper relations with other faithful Catholics and demonstrates and confirms his faith to his children in a powerful way.
Every Catholic man has different gifts and skills which he can offer in service to his parish as a: catechist, a mentor to young men, lector, usher, choir member, volunteer for events, adorer for Adoration, trustee or committee member, school leader or volunteer, grounds keeper, organizer of men’s ministry, deacon.
While every man is different, every Catholic man is called to make meaningful personal sacrifices to financially support his parish (CCC 2043) to promote the growth in the Spiritual Works of Mercy. In addition, every Catholic man should strongly consider becoming a Knight of Columbus to be drawn into deeper bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men and to have a ready outlet for taking concrete Works of Mercy through the Knights’ strong commitment to serve their priests and parishes.
Perform Works of Mercy in the Church
Every Catholic man is a member of the Catholic Church Militant, the Catholic Church on earth. While a man’s focus must be on his family and parish, some men are called to help build the Church on a broader scale. Based on a man’s God-given skills and calling, he may be moved to serve in roles in his diocese (men’s movement, fundraising, schools, seminars, Catholic Charities, etc) or to serve the Church in an even broader way through mission work or other types of service.
Perform Works of Mercy in the Society
Every Catholic man’s priority must be to build the Kingdom of Christ; this necessitates that the major focus of men’s Works of Mercy outside of the family, neighbors and parish, should be to support Catholic institutions. Under no circumstances should a Catholic man ever support or become involved in any institution that engages in, or promotes activities that draw people into sin or directly contradict or attack the Church in any way.
Depending on his gifts and calling, a Catholic man may perform Works of Mercy through his worldly work, in government or in support of special charities (e.g. cancer research/treatment, international aid, war relief, etc.).