Corporal Works of Mercy Spiritual Works of Mercy
Feed the Hungry Admonish the Sinner
Give Drink to the Thirsty Instruct the Ignorant
Clothe the Naked Counsel the Doubtful
Shelter the Homeless Comfort the Sorrowful
Visit the Sick Bear Wrongs Patiently
Ransom the Captive Forgive Injuries
In St. Faustina's diary, Christ spoke to her about the importance of mercy - not just celebrating the feast, but living God's Mercy in our lives...
"My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere My mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first - by deed, the second - by word, the third - by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy. Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy, and I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the Feast and through the veneration of the image which is painted. By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works." (Diary, 742)
Later, St. Faustina describes her understanding of Christ's words to her...
"The Lord gave me knowledge of His will under three aspects, so to speak, but it all comes down to one.
The first is that souls separated from the world will burn as an offering before God's throne and beg for mercy for the whole world... and by their entreaties they will obtain blessings for priests, and through their prayers prepare the world for the final coming of Jesus.
The second is prayer joined to the act of mercy. In particular, they will defend the souls of children against the spirit of evil. Prayer and merciful deeds are all that will be required of these souls, and even the poorest persons can be admitted to their number. And in this egoistic world they will try to rouse up love, the mercy of Jesus.
The third is prayer and deeds of mercy, without any obligation of taking vows. But by doing this, these persons will have a share in all the merits and privileges of the whole [congregation]. Everyone in the world can belong to this group.
A member of this group ought to perform at least one act of mercy a day; at least one, but there can be many more, for such deeds can easily be carried out by anyone, even the very poorest. For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray - that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy. And when the Last Day comes, we shall be judged from this, and on this basis we shall receive the eternal verdict." (Diary 1155-1158)
But it wasn't just in honor of the Feast that Christ spoke about His desire for acts of mercy...
"October 1, 1937. Daughter, I need sacrifice lovingly accomplished, because that alone has meaning for Me. Enormous indeed are the debts of the world which are due to Me; pure souls can pay them by their sacrifice, exercising mercy in spirit.
I understand Your words, Lord, and the magnitude of the mercy that ought to shine in my soul. Jesus: I know, My daughter, that you understand it and that you do everything within your power. But write this for the many souls who are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy." (Diary, 1316-7)
Source: Oblates of Divine Mercy