Second Monday of Lent
“Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate”.
This verse rolls off the tongue easily and it can even be one that we convince ourselves we’ve got down pat. However, as we unpack this a little more in prayer today, I want to suggest that perhaps our idea of compassion is a little different to what Jesus is calling us to here.
Gregory Boyle, who authors one of my favourite books, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, writes that God is compassionate and “all we are asked to do is to be in the world who God is”. We’re asked to have the same compassion that moved Jesus. Now, if we’re honest, this is no easy task.
Compassion is easy when it requires me to volunteer my time to help those less fortunate, or to feel deep empathy for the hurting. However, when it comes to having that same willingness to empathise or help someone who has hurt me, or to be moved to loving service (rather than judgment) for those on a different path or those cast aside by society, compassion calls me to a love that is greater than my own. And that is the point! It calls us to the radical, cross-shaped, expansive compassion of God that stretches our hearts to love in such a bold way that is only possible through – and only points to – God.
As we pray through Lent, may we be so bold to allow the Holy Spirit to purify and stretch our hearts, making space for that compassionate love that invites all those we encounter into an experience of the heart of the Father.
Sr. Steph Sullivan
1st Reading: Daniel 9:4-10
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38