Category Archives: compassion

With compassion

The Three Crosses

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Three Crosses, 1653
drypoint and burin on paper (III/IV)
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
via Wikimedia Commons

After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Matthew 27:35-38

If I ever doubt that Jesus understands the suffering I experience, let me contemplate the cross with its reverberations of torturous pain, shaming ridicule, forlorn abandonment, and crushing despair.

The untying

The Raising of Lazarus

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Raising of Lazarus, circa 1630-1632
oil on oak panel
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

[Jesus] cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” John 11:43-44

Sometimes I feel emotionally and spiritually dead, but Jesus calls me to come out of the tomb of depression and sends people to untie the bands of sadness, self-hatred, and self-preoccupation so that I may again relish the gifts of life, love, and companionship.

Making God visible

ciego_01

Jesus heals the man blind from birth

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” John 9:1-3

The works of God are love, healing, compassion, forgiveness, non-judgment, acceptance, peace, non-violence, faith, hope, comfort…

How are the works of God made visible through me and my words, actions, behaviors, and attitudes?

 

Another challenge

James Tissot, La sermon des béatitudes between 1886 and 1894  opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper Brooklyn Museum

James Tissot, La sermon des béatitudes
between 1886 and 1894
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Brooklyn Museum
via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44

Every day Jesus throws out a new challenge. Today my challenge is to love those who have disrespected me, abused me, rejected me, cheated me, used me, manipulated me, been unfaithful to me, hurt me in any way.

My challenge is to love those who irritate me, annoy me, bother me, frighten me. To love those who are different from me, who have different beliefs from mine, who eat different foods, and who practice different rituals.

My challenge is to look for God, look for the good in every human person, and welcome and love—yes, love—all people in the name of Jesus.

Practicing courtesy. Being respectful. Showing an interest. Finding out what we have in common. Being a peacemaker.

The Law of Love

512px-Rembrandt_The_Hundred_Guilder_Print

Christ Preaching (The Hundred Guilder Print)
circa 1646-1650
etching, drypoint and burin on eastern paper
Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17

The law is love.

Love of God.
Love of neighbor.
Love of self.

We are called to partner with Jesus to fulfill the law of love in the world. We are called to give birth to and embody love for all to see, hear, and touch.

Answering the call

Matthew4[Jesus] called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:21-22

What will it take for me to leave everything and follow Jesus into a life of nonviolence, love, forgiveness, and healing?

Can I take a step today into an intentional practice of compassion, kindness, encouragement, and awareness of the needs of others?

Pointing to Jesus

Giovanni_di_Paolo_-_Ecce_Agnus_Dei

Ecce Agnus Dei, 1455/60
Giovanni di Paolo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
John 1:29

John points to Jesus as the one who will be sacrificed to save us. Yet I like to meditate on Jesus as the one who came to be with us because of God’s great love for us; who suffered pain and understands our suffering when we are in pain; who struggled with human emotions such as sorrow and anger and understands our struggles to move through grief and let go of resentment; who patiently teaches us, prays with us, and eats with us; who died and rose from the dead to give us the hope of eternal life in perfect love and union with God.

God is with us

4_candlesAll this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

Whether I’m having an easy day or a hard day, God is with me. Whether I’m feeling peaceful or angry, God is with me. Whether I believe or don’t believe, God is with me.

Finding the way

2_candles

Second Sunday of Advent

It was of [John the Baptist] that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Matthew 3:3

John the Baptist points the way to Jesus, the Compassion of God, the Prince of Peace. How have I pointed the way to compassion and peace today? Will I make the effort to point the way to compassion and peace tomorrow?