The Christian Works of Mercy
Christianity is the “fulfillment of the Law” (Matthew 5:17). An Orthodox Christian ethos regarding the Works of Mercy is thus the fulfillment of God’s Commandments, the greatest of which are to Love God and Love your neighbor. One without the other is incomplete.
When we look at the activities which we describe as the “works of mercy” we see more clearly our diaconal work in the fullest context of God working in and through the ages of human history. This work encompasses the divine principles and teachings of both the Old and New Testaments. These merciful activities are rooted in Isaiah 58, the mitzvah of hospitality, and the Book of Tobit. From this root, Christ commands us toward their fulfillment (Matthew 25:35-36) in that we are taught to love and serve Christ in our neighbor.
Sometimes called the Corporal Works of Mercy, these include:
1. To feed the hungry.
2. To give water to the thirsty.
3. To clothe the naked.
4. To shelter the homeless.
5. To visit the sick.
6. To visit the imprisoned.
7. To bury the dead.
As we seek to alleviate the physical suffering of our neighbor, in closer relationship with
those whom we serve, we come to better discern the depths of spiritual need and suffering.
The Christian works of mercy that enter into the realm of spiritual healing are rooted in
Ezekiel 33, from the ancient rites of forgiveness, from Deuteronomy 15, and Maccabees 2.
We find these activities are fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ and in His ministry, as He
assures us that “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and
greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father “(John 14:12).
Sometimes called the Spiritual Works of Mercy, these include:
1. To instruct the ignorant.
2. To counsel the doubtful.
3. To admonish sinners.
4. To bear patiently those who wrong us.
5. To forgive offenses.
6. To console the afflicted.
7. To pray for the living and the dead.
The community of Saints Peter & Paul seeks to provide a missionary setting where we
can together learn and grow in a faithful practice of the Works of Mercy, to become more
like Christ. As members in the Body of Christ we strive to participate in the ongoing work
of His Incarnation; His ever present ministry in the world “for the life of the world and its
Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36)