As I work on the editing of Pax et Bonum Communications’ new film featuring the wonderful work of the Medical Missionaries of Mary in Honduras, I am being drawn into a deeper contemplation of the importance of compassion.

Compassion makes no distinction between friends and enemies, neighbors and outsiders, compatriots and foreigners. Compassion is the gateway to human community.

Compassion is not sympathy. Compassion is mercy. It is a commitment to take responsibility for the suffering of others.

To be without compassion is to fail to know the self. When we recognize and accept our own frailties, we have no trouble dealing tenderly with the needs, lapses, and misdeeds of others.

Compassion is the sacrament of concern. To the person who is compassionate, tragedy is not a news report. It is a call to respond.

Compassion is not a feeling. Compassion is action. St. Theresa of Avila told her sisters, “The purpose of prayer is always good works, good works, good works.”


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