The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.
Corporal Works of Mercy
The corporal works of mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.
feed the hungry give drink to the thirsty clothe the naked shelter the homeless visit the sick visit the imprisoned bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy
The spiritual works of mercy are acts of compassion by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.
counsel the doubtful instruct the ignorant admonish sinners comfort the afflicted forgive offenses bear wrongs patiently pray for the living and the dead
Wording of these lists sometimes varies, but what is important to remember is:
The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2447)