Once Christians have received the grace and forgiveness of God, how are we supposed to live?
The lists of the Works of Mercy are one way to summarize the moral teachings of Jesus about how Christians can serve God by loving our neighbors. These teachings can be found in the Gospel of Matthew chapters 5 (Sermon on the Mount) and 25 (Parable of the Kingdom).
The Works of Mercy are traditionally divided into seven spiritual works and seven corporal (physical) acts. Pope Francis declared 2015-16 the Year of Mercy and added an eighth work in both the corporal and spiritual categories: Care for Creation. He urges Christian everywhere to respect, pray and care for our common home.
This artwork by Joan Bratt, commissioned in 2022 by Mustard Seed Training, uses a wood block style of black ink drawing to reflect on how families can act on the Works of Mercy (8 per category with one repeated, so 15 total). The style is inspired by the artwork that Quaker artist Fritz Eichenberg created for Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker newspaper. We wanted to create a set of images that focuses on children and families as active “workers” of mercy and includes Care for Creation.