Thought for the Week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

Pity, sym­pa­thy, em­pa­thy, com­pas­sion are the re­sponses of our­selves to those less for­tu­nate.

Of the four, com­pas­sion has a unique qual­ity, a qual­ity so dif­fer­ent from the rest that it in­di­cates a spir­i­tual as well as an emo­tional char­ac­ter­is­tic.

Com­pas­sion un­like pity has no con­de­scen­sion. Un­like em­pa­thy, it does not re­quire a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence on the part of the giver, and while sym­pa­thy is a won­der­ful virtue, it im­plies less im­pul­sive­ness than com­pas­sion.

Com­pas­sion con­tains no pity be­cause it does not judge a cir­cum­stance of life as bet­ter, or worse than the next, and it’s not con­stricted by “rules” be­cause it recog­nises the unique­ness of each per­son.

Com­pas­sion is a way of say­ing hello, with kind­ness and grace, and be­cause of this, com­pas­sion is never a bur­den to the per­son it is di­rected to­wards.

There­fore, com­pas­sion, when it en­ters, usu­ally ban­ishes lone­li­ness, and if not, it ac­com­pa­nies the lonely in soli­tude.

Com­pas­sion can sit with the dy­ing in si­lence, or with one giv­ing birth.

Com­pas­sion can join in suf­fer­ing, ac­cept­ing pain as a part of life. Com­pas­sion can jump into ac­tion, if ac­tion is called for.

Com­pas­sion can give to the poor or help heal the sick, with­out con­de­scen­sion or judg­ment. If th­ese qual­i­ties of com­pas­sion seem Di­vine, it is be­cause they are.

And the only hope of ever call­ing this qual­ity one’s own is to re­mem­ber that it is in the im­age of the Di­vine that we are cre­ated.

And if ever you are for­tu­nate enough to be in the pres­ence of com­pas­sion, you will barely no­tice it, so nat­u­ral does it seem -- as nat­u­ral as God’s hid­den pres­ence, no­tice­able only if you look. Rev­erend Bill McMil­lan St Colum­bkille RC Church

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