The word COMPASSION has disappeared not only from our language but above all, from our hearts. Resistance to compassion must be understood as a symptom. The models in vogue go in another direction: success, well-being, health, competitiveness ... In the pain of others, we detect a suffering that can become ours and we prefer to alienate ourselves in any way, through pretense or indifference. We forget that nothing has more sense in this world than compassion. Compassion means suffering with another, it is a way of subtracting the pain from the loneliness that it generates, saying to the one to whom we approach: “You are not alone, because I know your suffering and I take your pain, your place .“ Compassion is that particular human relationship that paradoxically begins there, when we need to be cared for and reciprocated by a friendly presence. The cry of the one who suffers often comes to us without words: the helpless silence says it all, life even more bare than usual, the gaze wounded by the adversity that at this time is the COVID-19 Pandemic. Compassion arouses listening, harmony, responsibility for life, solidarity choice, gestures, and permanence.
In compassion there is a suspension of judgment about the vulnerability of the other. It is constructed as consent offered to the other, as it seems to us here and now. Compassion anchors us in this moment in which we have to live. In the practice of compassion, you also learn to suffer by helping the other. We know that we cannot heal, but that, as much or more than curing, what matters is being present. True Christian spirituality must be a school of compassion. The Jewish man, Eli Wiesel, quotes some beautiful guidelines:
The righteous cannot limit himself to the study of the Talmud, the Zohar, or their books of prayers. He must abandon those tasks to go to the forest to cut wood to light a fire with which the poor may be warmed, thus approaching heaven.
Or this one:
God must direct His gaze to those in need, and not to us.
Our mission is to come to their aid. In the name of God.
Sometimes, even instead of God!
In Christian spirituality there is a lot of unforgettable history, I would like to recall with you a narrative in the first biographies of Saint Francis of Assisi: One day when he was riding his horse on a plain near Assisi, Francisco de Cruz Inés suddenly came upon a leper. He felt an intense horror, but remembering that he had opted for a perfect life, and that above all, he had to overcome himself if he wanted to be “soldier of Christ” (2 Tim. 2,3), he jumped from the horse to embrace the unfortunate, the one who extended his hand asking only for alms, received, along with the money a kiss as well.. For Jesus, COMPASSION was the MAIN concern: to provide encouragement to the afflicted, to include the poor, calm the suffering, feed the hungry and instill FAITH to all as the most essential nutrient. In the compassion of Jesus rests his most revolutionary message for all humanity. How to recover compassion in a theater of such self-centeredness? If it is sympathizing to help others with empathy, you will have to take off bandages and dressings: look and see and stop going about “absent-mindedly” with anguish, at the violence, abuses of all kinds, contempt, inequality caused by the “powers that be”.
Jesus, stands at the side of the hopeless and the oppressed to rescue the abandoned, the lost ones, hears their cries, heals the sick, takes away the hunger of the poor, and protects the homeless. Not in a moralistic but in a humanly transcendent way: with the only value of possible coexistence, LOVE that is born from awareness. Anesthetized by consumerism and exploitation, society deceives itself when it believes that it can cover injustices and ignore the poor. Awakening is the great task: Awakening conscience, loving and listening to the voice of God, promoting human solidarity, adding yes, as a synonym for inclusion, not accumulation. Let us reread Matthew 25, 31-46 and the great judgment appears before us clearly. We will not be judged by our faith or professed religion but by the conscience of solidarity towards the suffering.
Zero tolerance for injustice is the way to the rebirth of compassion: “There is something very deep that must change in this world: accumulation for solidarity with spirit. Today what is necessary is to center the Church and humanity in the person of Jesus and in his project for the Kingdom of God. The long-awaited welfare state is not possible without the basis that in life we are all important! Compassion and solitude in moments of social crisis are not enough to bring down the great pull of the present: the market. There everything is traded: dignity, beliefs, traditions, freedom, love...
We all feel afflicted, worried and afraid by what is happening and how we may have to continue living. We want to leave the confinement of our homes, but the fear persists ... This is the time to reflect and make proposals for changes in the attitude of our lives. And in the face of uncertainty, God comforts and strengthens us. This is how I felt the other night when in one of my books I found a card that a friend sent me some time ago in which he said to me: “The same eternal Father who takes care of you now, will take care of you tomorrow and every day. He protects you from suffering and He will give you the inexhaustible strength to overcome it. Be at peace and put aside all thoughts and imaginations of anxiety, it is enough for me to say with faith: Jesus, I trust in you! “May the Lord Jesus help us this Easter to become a spark of light of faith and hope in a world free from the Covid-19 Pandemic and all evil, so that His DIVINE LIGHT may illuminate the darkness that still fills the world with pain and death. “And may He have mercy on us and on the whole world through His sorrowful Passion” (From the Chaplet of Divine Mercy).
This morning I woke up with the thought from this text of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 40, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, speak to your heart ... prepare the way of the Lord ... everything will be solved, because the glory of God will be revealed and everyone will see it ... “and from verse 27. “Because it says and repeats that my way is hidden from the Lord… does not my God take care of my rights? Do you not know have you not heard?” God is eternal ... he does not get fatigued or tired, his intelligence is eternal ... And those who trust in Him regain their strength. They will run tirelessly and they will walk without weariness.” What benevolent words He reveals to us, which will bless our efforts to build together a prosperous future and revive people filled with fear and suffering.
In the dialogue of the Annunciation between the messenger of God and Mary, the words that put a golden seal on this unforgettable encounter were: “Because for God nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1,27). These words have gone around the world millions of times and continue to be a source of comfort and hope for all the afflicted, the sick and those who go through the difficulties of life. This is my favorite phrase from the Bible and the one that has strengthened my faith in all the circumstances of my life. Today more than ever these words must become enlightening with faith and hope in the face of the pandemic of COVID-19, which threatens the lives of the whole world. Let us always keep in mind, for God nothing and no one is lost. He has the power and the love for each of us so as not to let the world become a giant hospital. Jesus told us: God is God of the living not of the dead, He wants us all to live healthy and happy. Let us not lose trust in God, because the great solutions to problems are accomplished by God. If you believe in God, always expect the best. Don’t be discouraged by seeing what the world has turned into overnight; when we turn away from the source, that is God, evil dominates us. But we still have time to seek the antivirus of human cruelty, which kills life, the antivirus of disbelief in God, the antivirus of discontent and hopelessness... many believe that everything is lost, that there is nothing we can do. Don’t believe them, THE BEST IS YET TO COME, when you believe and proclaim, “ FOR GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE”. God is the source of solutions to the world’s problems.
Let’s learn life lessons in the things that happen to us, just like in this case: Once there was a man driving in his truck down a long, lonely road. Suddenly the engine started to fail and the truck stopped. The man got off and carefully checked the engine, thinking he was going to find the problem soon, and he was sure he’d be able to fix it, because almost 28 years ago he had bought that truck and knew his engine like the back of his hand. He spent a lot of time, checking and looking for the cause of the engine failure, and he couldn’t find the reason why it wouldn’t start. Suddenly a man came by in another truck and stopped and got out of his truck to offer his help. The man told him “she’s my lifelong companion, I know her too well, I’ve never needed a mechanic, I can fix it myself.” I don’t think you can fix it, the man insisted with a smile. At last the owner of the truck said, “Okay, try, but I don’t think you can. This man put his hands to work and within minutes he found the problem and solved it, turned on the engine and told him the problem is solved. The owner, surprised, asked him, “How could you fix it, if it’s my truck and I know it perfectly and I couldn’t find the problem? The man said: The problem is solved, my name is Felix Wankel, I invented the rotary engine that is in your truck...
How many times do we give God an attitude very similar to the owner of the truck, as he said to that stranger “It’s my life”, “It’s my problem.” But, who created me and gave me life? For He is my Creator, who can better teach me how to live my life and He is also the One who can help me most when I am left stranded on the road of my daily walk. I’ll give you His details in case you ever need or want a “Mechanic”.
Name of the Mechanic of Life: GOD
Hours: 24 HOURS A DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR
Phone: HE DOES NOT HAVE ONE, but all you need is just to think about Him or invoke Him with FAITH. Ah, something very important, His line is never busy. And something else, He does not charge us, everything is free. All we have to do is say THANK YOU Try it, and you will get the solution to all your physical and spiritual problems. He’s the antivirus of all viruses that appear in this world, including the CORONAVIRUS, which has us all in SHOCK...
What life lessons do we learn from this COVID-19 Pandemic? Several very important things: 1. It’s helping us to change our attitude about life, we’re living upside down and we need to change. 2. We are learning that we are a family of the human race, no matter what nationality or color, we need to help each other as one class of human beings, cooperative not competitive. 3. We have to take care of the assets we have: the natural environment, the resources from animals, and vegetation, social structures, resources, production, health, work, religiousness, economy, peace. 4. All problems, like solutions, will affect or benefit us all. 5. We have to create better hygiene and cleaning habits, not pollute our planet so much, our common house. 6. It is not about placing blame, viruses have no nationality, it is about being creative and being supportive so that we all live better. 7. We thought of ourselves as owners of the world and excluded God from our lives, family and society, and now we call Him with tears, cries for help and prayers. Now we remember that there is ONE who is Faithful, who loves us and the Only One who is ALL-POWERFUL, the others are paper tigers. 8. God’s mercy has been acting in the midst of the pandemic, more have been cured than those who have died but it seems that we needed this pulling of our ears for us to reflect and take responsibility. 9. We have seen the heroes of our society: the health workers at the forefront of the fight, the laborers who continue to supply us with food, the journalists who inform us of the things we need to know, the policemen and soldiers who help to keep order, producers and carriers of the things we consume. 10. The Church, the Pope, Bishops, Priests, Religious and Deacons who guide and accompany us on the path of faith and who continue to celebrate in private to ask for mercy, healing, and that God will free us from the evil of this Coronavirus Pandemic and from many other viruses of the body and of the soul (Gal. 5, 19-22). 11. This Lent will be unforgettable, it surprised us with this virus that has forced us to change, it “touches” everybody, the powerful, famous, rich and poor. From this pandemic God will deliver us, but if we do not make serious changes other pandemics will happen and we pray He will find us “in good grace” because there might not be a cure for so many people. And as the litany of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy says: “For the sake of His Powerful Passion have Mercy on us and on the Whole World.”
Life is a collection of days and some days are better than others. This may seem so obvious and maybe that’s why we don’t question it. But why are some days better than others? I discovered one thing as I became more aware of what is going on in me and around me; that if one day doesn’t start well, it very rarely ends up as a good day. How do you start your best days? Most people don’t know. They have an idea but they’re not sure... Try to start your day with a prayer, even if it is brief, and watch as it impacts the rest of your day.
One of the great struggles of Christian life is surrendering to God’s will. Opposing God is a fool’s mission. Only a madman or a selfish person would resist God, and yet I suspect that we all fall into both categories from time to time. Too often we resist God’s will. We can spend all our energies fighting with Him for things we don’t really need, instead of surrendering to His perfect plan for our lives. If you really want your life to be better and have a noticeable spiritual growth, commit to prayer adapted to the daily examination of conscience. St. Paul advised the first Christians, “Each one, examine your conscience”... (I Cor. 11,28); St. Ignatius popularized this in the first week of his famous spiritual exercises. He believed that the daily examination of conscience is the most important thing about spiritual exercises. One of the treasures that this practice brings is a greater awareness of who we are and what is happening in us and around us. This awareness accentuates our ability to experience life, i.e. it increases our ability to live. The daily examination of conscience challenges that, freeing us from living unconsciously. It seems to me that people now have less and less self-awareness. Many of the things we say and do are screaming. Am I fully aware of how my way of speaking and acting affects the people around me!?
Lent is the occasion that the Church offers to all, indistinctly, to take time in the very environment in which they live without having to retreat to a lonely place. A well-lived Lent is a kind of healing and detoxification of the soul. If Lent didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it today. There is not only carbon poisoning on earth; there is also poisoning from excessive noise and light; we’re all kind of drunk with hustle and bustle. It is not only believers, but every person conscious of having a spirit to protect and defend. Also, the spirit is entitled to a vacation!
Today’s “pharaohs” say, “Inundate these young people with hustle and bustle, stun them with images, so that they are amazed and confused, they may not think, may not decide on their own. Let them follow the latest fashion, let them buy what we offer them, consume the products that we say”! What to do? The Church offers us an answer: fasting. Only, there are many types of fasts. It used to be understood as abstaining from meals and meats. This is still recommended. Nevertheless, this is not the most necessary fast today. No food, Jesus said, is in itself impure. What makes man impure is what comes out of his heart. More necessary than the fasting of food is the fast of murmurings, of noise, of respect and good treatment to others, but above all, of images. We live in a civilization of images; we have become image-devourers. Through television, computer, cell phone, magazines and the press; it is the same reality, we allow image waves inside us. Many of them are unhealthy, they carry violence and evil, they only incite the worst instincts in us. They are expressly designed to seduce. But perhaps worse, they give us a false and unrealistic idea of life with all its consequences, pretending that real life offers everything that advertising presents.
The perverse images (pornography) barely entered within us, do not die, but ferment. They are transformed into imitation impulses, compromising our freedom... Another of these alternative fasts that we can practice during Lent is that of ugly (bad) words (Ephesians 4,29). The parishioners of a Parish decided during one Lent to fast from bad words, following this recommendation of St. Paul and it became a BLESSED LENT.
Recently Pope Francis surprised us with a new proposal for this 2020 LENT, with fifteen simple acts of charity, as concrete manifestations of God’s love (the fasting of meat during Lent is over): 1. SMILE. A Christian is always cheerful 2. Say THANK YOU for little things (even if you don’t have to). 3. REMIND others how much you LOVE them. 4. GREET with joy the persons you see every day. 5. LISTEN to other people’s stories without prejudice, and with love. 6. STOP to help. Pay attention to those that need you. 7. Try to RAISE the spirits of people around you. 8. CELEBRATE the qualities and success of others, thus avoiding envy or jealousy. 9. SORT OUT the things you no longer use or need, and give them to those in need. 10. Be ready to HELP when you are needed so that others may rest. 11. GIVE CORRECTIONS with love, do not keep quiet out of fear. 12. Maintain GOOD RELATIONS with those around you. 13. KEEP CLEAN the things you use in the home. 14. HELP others overcome obstacles. 15. CALL, and call on, your parents more often. What beautiful recommendations Pope Francis gives us. They are a great help to get back to “politeness”. They stopped teaching common courtesy in schools, thinking it would be taught at home, and to some extent they were right, but now we can apply the phrase: “if what is known is silenced, and thus silenced is forgotten, and if forgotten is not put into practice” and because we do not practice it, we do and say what we please, without thinking about the respect that we owe to other people. Let us during this Lent return to living with love and respect and make this time a Blessed Lent 2020 !
God wants you to be happy, even more than you do yourself!