Christ was a model of universal compassion. He stood with the sinners, the cripples, the lepers, the “foreigner”, the poor, the hungry, the women, the humble fisherfolk. All these were in one way or another the “untouchables” of society, those living on the underside of dominance. And he witnessed that all were important, all were sacred. Were they not all one in the Father, all branches of the Vine, members of one Body, sharing in the Spirit? Christ’s universal compassion emerged from a profound awareness of life in the Spirit. It involved being and doing contemplation and action.
Toward a Global Spirituality
May I imitate the compassion of Jesus.
More than 2000 years later our society is not too different from the society of Jesus. We are still told that the poor, the foreigners, the women and the sick are the underside of dominance. We see it politically. We see it in the practitioners and leaders of religions. Reflect on the conflict between current practice and the example of Jesus. If we call ourselves Christian, how do we measure up to that? What changes must happen in our thinking and practice?
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
Dalai Lama XIV
Compassion is not sympathy. Compassion is mercy. It is a commitment to take responsibility for the suffering of others. —Joan D. Chittister
Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.
The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw
Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.
Compassion asks us to look into our hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse to inflict that pain on anybody else.
There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.