“When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity of accepting and having compassion for him is there. Jesus called this “loving your enemy.” When you are able to love your enemy, he or she is no longer your enemy. The idea of “enemy” vanishes and is replaced by the notion of someone who is suffering and needs your compassion.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh in Living Buddha, Living Christ.
BUILT WITH BOLDGRID
- Daily Mass Readings
Reach out to someone you have had a conflict with, attempt a reconciliation.
Pray for the ability to forgive someone who has hurt you.Do a random act of kindness without expecting something in return.Buy a coffee and/or a sandwich for a homeless person.Find out more about a group who makes you feel uncomfortable. Try to see a situation through their eyes.
Franciscan Peace Prayer
Lord make Me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness joy.
O Divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
Our Compassion, Who needs it?
Many years ago, I was asked by a friend to attend an assembly for LGBT people in the Uniting Church of Australia. During an open forum in which participants shared some of their experiences of discrimination and hurt, there was an atmosphere of anger as some spoke harshly about those in the Church who campaigned to expel LGBT members. Finally, a well-known lesbian and minister in the Church approached the microphone to speak. A prominent figure in Australian religious circles for her work in social justice issues, her experience of vilification and homophobic attacks was well known. The assembly fell silent with respect. She responded to all she heard with compassion and then gently challenged the assembly to forgive as she reminded them that Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and those who hurt us. The challenge came from a woman and pastor who lived what she was asking of others. History can show us some powerful examples of those who met injustice and hate with love, compassion and a willingness to forgive.
It can be easy to show compassion towards family and friends or those like us. Sometimes the challenge is to be compassionate towards the “undeserving”, whoever that may be. We never know who needs or deserves our compassion and kindness.
I remember being on a weekend away a few years ago, with a group I belonged to. On the way home we stopped off in the local town to have some lunch. A member of our group, after playing the poker machines, won a small but decent amount of money. Not a gambler, he decided to pay for the group’s lunch, with their permission. As he was paying, he gave the waitress all his winnings and asked that the remaining money be used to pay for the next bill that was presented to be paid. On being challenged by another in our group, he simply said that he didn’t know who was deserving and hoped that the recipient would pay it forward. It struck me as a beautiful gesture of kindness – we don’t know who is in need of our compassion, all we need do is offer it when the opportunity arises.