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First Friday reflection for October 2019

Compassion changes everything.
Compassion heals;
Compassion mends the broken
and restores what has been lost.
Compassion draws together
those who have been estranged
or never even dreamed they were connected.
Compassion pulls us out of ourselves and into the heart of another,
placing us on holy ground where we instinctively take
off our shoes and walk in reverence.
Compassion springs out of vulnerability
and triumphs in unity.

- Judy Cannato, Field of Compassion 

If I look back at my experience and think about the people who were most meaningful – the moments when I felt heard and understood – I can safely say it was not the ones who offered advice, suggestions or recommendations. The compassionate listeners were those who stayed with me even when there was no solution, and, inevitably, I experienced some sort of transformation.

In my ministry of retreats and spiritual direction, I frequently encounter those who are experiencing soul pain caused by grief or trauma of some sort or suffering caused by a suicide in the family. Almost every person I work with talks about searching, longing and, in some instances, the brokenness they feel in their soul. These experiences bring me into silence and into the heart of Jesus in my prayer.

Jesus’ compassion brought him into places of pain, to be with others who were suffering. When he saw the lepers, the blind or the widow of Naim, he felt their soul pain in his own heart. Jesus shared their suffering, but it didn’t end there. Their pain was transformed in some way. Compassion heals.

You might like to reflect on your capacity for compassion. To what extent is the capacity for compassion developed in your life? Bring this to the heart of Jesus in your prayer.

Reflection: Donna Dolan, RSCJ, United States – Canada Province
Image: Floral" by Donna Dolan, RSCJ