Compassion is often defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering; a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.
Henri J.M. Nouwen once said, “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
We are called to embrace our humanity and to reach out to others. Sometimes this is not easy as we are too busy trying to be all things to all people. We need to remember to take time for ourselves as we seek to help others. In reality we cannot live this life alone nor do we. We live this life in the gentle arms of God who loves us beyond anything we can ask for or imagine. As we continue the journey of Lent let us relish in this truth that God made us because he thought we might enjoy it!
Pat Schifini, OSU