We pray for the following grace:
Let us pray for the gift of compassion, especially for those who are marginalized, or weak, or vulnerable.
In a homily that he gave on an ordinary Tuesday morning in September 2019, Pope Francis said that “Our God is a God of compassion, and compassion – we can say – is the weakness of God, but also His strength. Compassion is the language of God.” In this Ignatian Year, when we are invited to see all things new in Christ, how are we invited to take on anew the compassion of God, the love of Jesus, and make compassion our weakness and our strength and our language too?
When we experience compassion, we are sharing what God feels about the world today, and what God feels about the individual that we are encountering. Hopefully we can look upon the person that we are encountering with the eyes and the heart of God.
A few years ago, while driving to church in a torrential downpour, my youngest son and my husband and I encountered a woman about my age holding a sign “Homeless and Hungry”. Tears were streaming down her face along with the rain. We made the meager gesture of handing her a dollar. Sobbing she said “My name is Loretta, please pray for me.” This absolutely broke my heart, and I started sobbing too. I felt so bad afterwards that not only had we not offered her a ride somewhere, but that we hadn’t even given her one of our umbrellas.
I was still crying when we arrived at church and told the story to my wise and loving friend Sr. Lillian who said to me, “But God is crying about Loretta with you, and has turned his face toward her.”
Can our compassion bring God’s attention to others? I believe it can and it does – and we are called to bring God’s attention to those whom we and others have excluded so that God holds them especially close. Who do we need to hold so close in our hearts so that God will turn his attention to them?
Questions to Consider:
- In praying through the reflection and scripture, what is God saying to you about your own vocation?
- As you continue your journey this Lent, what new insight have you gained to put your vocation into action for God’s and God’s creation?
We continue reflecting on the words of Pope Francis:
In so many of his homilies and writings, Pope Francis speaks the language of compassion and invites us to be a compassionate people – here’s just a few examples:
“None should have to feel there is no room for them on this earth.”
“Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ.”
“Compassion is a privileged way to promote justice.”
“We must never allow the throwaway culture to enter our hearts, because we are brothers and sisters. No one is disposable.”
“The measure of greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.”
Loving God, we pray for the gift of compassion, that compassion may become our weakness and our strength and our language, in the same way that it is yours.