“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. … Above all, clothe yourselves with love… (Col 3:12ff).”
- Daily Mass Readings
Think of a few ways you can show compassion this week. Take the opportunity to do little acts of kindness throughout the week. Do something kind for your mother… visit or have an electronic meet up, share a cup of tea and conversation.
Express your gratitude for all your mother has done for you. This might be in person, through a phone call or, if you mother has passed away, by sitting and reflecting on experiences of her.
Find a quiet place and settle into a stillness. Prayerfully, read the gospel slowly and listen to Henryk Gorecki, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – 2nd Movement. There is a YouTube link above, listen with or without the visual. Ask God to help you see opportunities for acts of kindness this week and offer a prayer of gratitude for your mother.
- Laudato Si – here
The pope admits that he, like many, was blind at first at the abuse which humanity is inflicting on nature. He needed to experience a conversion to recognise the destructive way we insult God’s beautiful gift of our planet.
Models of Compassion
As a cradle Catholic I have been conditioned to come to the season of Lent with the question of how I am living my Christian faith, a self-review if you will. So, I come to this Sunday’s Gospel passage with the question: What does this gospel passage tell me as I strive to be a better Christian?
The reference to Moses is the first thing that strikes me. In Numbers 21:4-9, Moses makes a bronze serpent and puts it on a stand. All who gaze on the statue are healed from the deadly serpent bites plaguing Israel. John’s gospel invites us to “gaze” on Jesus – look with intentional attentiveness. There is something intimate and relational between Jesus and those who look.
My attention then focused on the contrast between light and darkness. Earlier John mentions that Nicodemus visits Jesus at night. The reader is encouraged, along with Nicodemus, to come into the light. At Baptism we are given a lighted candle and called to be the light of Christ in the world. We fulfil this calling by doing “what is true”, what is good.
While not denying our sinful nature, I like to emphasis the graced and holy nature of human beings; we are intrinsically good. We are created in the image and likeness of God and compassion is our natural inclination. However, something seems to have gone wrong and we must re-learn and reclaim our authentic selves as holy, graced and redeemed – Christ like.
It’s a beautiful coincidence that as the gospel refers to light and doing what is good, we celebrate Mothers’ Day. Mothers (along with fathers) are our first models of compassion and love. If your mother was similar to mine, she taught you something about kindness, compassion and selfless love. Compassion seems to be instinctive to motherhood exemplified by their attentiveness towards their children through hardship and suffering. Here we think of Mary being told that a sword would pierce her own heart as the mother of Jesus. Mothers are the first to love us unconditionally and there is something of this motherly compassion in the music suggested for prayer today, Henryk Goreki’s Symphony of the Sorrowful Songs, 2nd Movement. A haunting piece of music set to the words inscribed on the wall of a cell in a Gestapo prison: “No, Mother, do not weep, most chaste Queen of Heaven support me always.” In the first movement a mother pleads with her son to share his wounds with her and in the third movement a mother searches for your suffering son. The symphony seems to present us with motherly compassion.
The practice of compassion while simple can be challenging and complex at the same time. Micah’s suggestion is to act justly, love kindness and walk humbly. This week I invite you to focus on compassion, practicing acts of kindness, as a way of being the light of Christ in today’s world.