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).