Pope Francis demonstrates how his compassionate approach establishes itself in a strong rootedness in following Jesus:
This love [of God] has now been made visible and tangible in Jesus’ entire life. His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously. The relationships He forms with the people who approach Him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable. The signs He works, especially in favor of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy... Nothing in Him is devoid of compassion. (Pope Francis, “ Misericordiae Vultus”)
Boundless Compassion extends an invitation to grow in the kind of love that motivated Jesus to be a compassionate presence. The greatest challenge of compassion may well be that of recognizing the dignity and worth of every person- regardless of race, gender, culture, creed, political stance or personal behavior. The light of divinity dwells within each one, no matter how hidden that goodness might be.
In today’s society it often seems like cruelty is more extensive than kindness. “Broken, wounded, violent, damaged, divisive”- these are some descriptions given to the current global situation. Our world desperately needs the noble, essential quality of compassion to be activated, and will not heal without it. Depending on how we respond, we can increase or decrease the amount of anguish in our world. Only with compassion at the core of humanity’s lived experience will we be able to approach one another with true respect and dwell in peacefulness.
Reflect: When someone reached out to you with kindness and offered you the gift of compassion. How did this affect you? What did you learn about compassion from this experience?
Reflect: When you deliberately extended compassion to someone who was hurting. What was this like for you? How did the other person(s) respond?