What exactly does “compassion” mean? According to dictionary.com, compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Now who do we know who has suffered sorrow and wants to alleviate us from our suffering? Christ Jesus, of course!
“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Compassion and mercy are often affiliated with each other because it takes an understanding of suffering and a desire to alleviate one’s suffering in order to be merciful. It’s not always easy, obviously. More often than not, we get angry and make snap judgments. Sometimes, compassion and mercy are the furthest thing from our minds. But the key here is sympathy, having the ability to understand another person. Once we put ourselves into someone else’s shoes, having compassion and mercy for them becomes a bit easier.
Back when I was in college, I reconnected with an old friend from high school who was dating my ex-boyfriend. Lydia* had no idea how mad I was at her. It’s not that I still had feelings for my ex-boyfriend. It was more that I was mad that I never got closure. But I held that grudge for a while, cutting myself off from both of them and wishing them the worst. Eventually, though, I called her up and apologized for my grudge. And eventually, we got back in touch and got back on good terms. Lydia is no longer dating my ex, but I have that feeling that even if she was, I would want both of them to be happy.
In one of Faustina’s visions, Jesus said,
“My Heart overflows with compassion and mercy for all. The heart of My beloved must resemble Mine; from her heart must spring the fountain of My mercy for souls; otherwise I will not acknowledge her as Mine.” (Diary 1148)
Let us imitate our Beloved and show mercy and compassion to everyone, especially those who have hurt us, by praying the Chaplet and trusting in Jesus and His Divine Mercy.
*Using a pseudonym for privacy reasons.