Compassion: sorrow for the sufferings or troubles of another or others accompanied by an urge to help; deep sympathy.
Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition
We are living at a time when humankind can face whatever threatens it only if we, by which I mean each of us, manage to revive, with new energy and a new ethos, a sense of responsibility for the rest of the world.
Compassion, which literally means to suffer with, is a gift to those who practice it. Far from being something which detracts from our sense of well-being, engaging in compassion elevates us to a higher level of existence since our thoughts and actions are no longer centered on ourselves but on the sufferings of others. We become one with the person suffering in an effort to mitigate their pain and distress and in so doing enter into the mystery of suffering, a mystery which has engaged great minds in trying to explain its meaning and its purpose. In effect we cannot understand or explain suffering. It defies analysis. It does make us more dependent on God and, depending on our disposition, closer to Him but the question still remains why do people have to suffer. In our present life it is an enigma. The important question then is how do we respond to it when we experience suffering or are confronted with another who suffers. Our personal sufferings can be joined to the redemptive sufferings of Jesus, accepted as a sign of His love for us, and offered up for our troubled world. In a sense we become co-redeemers with God. The sufferings of others can spark in us compassion, the realization that we are all intimately interconnected and related and that we exist only to help and serve others. God’s preference for the poor, the marginalized, the suffering is reiterated time and again in scripture as is His call to each one of us to succor and alleviate their sufferings, to have compassion for them, to suffer with them. There is no higher calling than this since it ennobles us and raises us to a plane closer to God.
We currently have in our home a 15 year old girl named Roxanna. She suffers from a malignant brain tumor which is inoperable and for which there is no cure. As a result of the tumor she is blind and suffers from intermittent severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. Notwithstanding, she is the epitome of compassion for the other children. Whenever new children are admitted and are distressed at being left by thir parents, Roxanna makes her way to them, consoles them and takes them under her wing to lessen their distress. She will sit with a child who is in pain or crying and will either talk to or sing to the child. She is a joy and a gift to the other children and an example to me and the others who labor in the home. We must see in the suffering person the face of God and know that what we do for the sufferer we do for Him. God has shown compassion to us in so many ways and we must be conduits of His compassion to others. If a blind girl can see the face of God in her suffering friends we have no excuse not to see Him in others.
In the end of our lives we will not be judged on how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.”
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
I want to end this newsletter with a prayer by F.B. Myer. May it help us all to grow in compassion.
Forgive me most gracious Lord and Father if this day I have done anything to increase the pain of the world. Pardon the unkind word, the impatient gesture, the hard and selfish deed, the failure to show sympathy and kindly help when I had the opportunity and missed it; and enable me so to live that I may daily do something to lessen the tide of human sorrow and add to the sum of human happiness.
Thank you for your compassion towards our children. We love you and with you God’s peace.
Born without Ears
Cleft Lip and Palate
Malignant Tumor of the Brain
Vascular Tumor of the Neck
Cleft Lip and Palate