July 18

Reflection

He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Mark 6:34

 

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the center of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
The Charter for Compassion

Prayer

May I live as a person of compassion.

Action

Go to the Charter for Compassion website. Read and reflect on the information. Consider signing the Charter for Compassion.

Suggested Readings

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Thus has the Lords of hosts said, “Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother.”
Zechariah 7:9 

True compassion does not marginalize anyone, nor does it humiliate and exclude; much less consider the disappearance of a person as a good thing. You are well aware of the meaning of the triumph of selfishness, of this ‘throwaway culture’ that rejects and dismisses those who do not comply with certain canons of health, beauty and utility.
Pope Francis 

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.
Albert Schweitzer 

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama 

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein

God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.
Desmond Tutu

Compassion is the basis of morality.
Arthur Schopenhauer

I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion and where it doesn’t that’s where my work lies.
Ram Dass 

That’s the difference between pity and compassion. Pity feels sorry: compassion does something about it.
Unknown

Compassion is the awareness of the interdependence of all things.
Thomas Merton

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.
Buddha

Compassion is a verb.
Thich Nhat Hahn

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