Web Meditation 1 March 2009
Is a word that is tossed about a lot, but is often misunderstood. It is made of two parts: passion, and the prefix "com". Passion actually means to suffer, hence when we talk of the passion of Jesus Christ we are talking about his suffering and death. The prefix "com" means "with". Therefore compassion means to suffer with. If we say we have compassion for someone we are saying that we suffer with them. I believe compassion is another way that we love God with all our heart. Jesus, God incarnate, suffered with us and died. To suffer with someone is to do a similar action to God's supreme sacrifice.
It is not necessary to physically suffer with someone to feel compassion for them. Rather compassion is a lot like empathy where we connect emotionally and deeply with someone's feelings. To practice compassion, I believe we must start with listening. Usually when we are listening to someone we are thinking about what we are going to say next not deeply hearing what they have to say. But to practice compassion we have to forget ourselves and truly hear what another person has to say. When we are able to do this, our connection is deepened, our compassion is strengthened, our relationships are improved. I believe ultimately we are connected deeper to God when we are compassionate because we are emulating one of the characteristics of God.
Question for today:
Who can you practice listening to better, and consequently be more compassionate with?
This meditation is also posted on the website of the Church of the Resurrection in Omaha, NE.