“How then can we be witnesses of mercy?” he asked, noting how “Jesus says that every time we feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, clothe a naked person and welcome a stranger, visit a sick person or someone in prison, we do it to Him.”
And the spiritual works of mercy are equally important to the corporal especially today, Francis said, “because they touch the soul and often make people suffer more.”
“‘Bear wrongs patiently.’ It might seem like a minor thing, which makes us smile, but instead it contains a feeling of deep love,” he said.
“And so also for the other six, which it is good to remember: to counsel the doubtful, to teach the ignorant, to admonish sinners, to comfort the afflicted, to forgive offenses, to pray to God for the living and for the dead.”
Promising to focus on these in his next catechesis, Francis explained that these spiritual and corporal works of mercy are given to us by the Church as a concrete way to live out compassion.
“Over the centuries, many simple people have put them into practice,” such as the newly canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta.
Her works of mercy, the Pope said, “are the traits of the face of Jesus Christ who takes care of his younger siblings to bring everyone the tenderness and closeness of God,” something we should all try to put into practice.
At the audience, Pope Francis also spoke about the Oct. 13 International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, asking for everyone to protect “our common home, promoting a culture of prevention” in order to reduce the risk to the most vulnerable among us.
These natural disasters could be avoided or limited, he said, since their effects “are often due to environmental care deficiencies on the part of man.”