Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Recently, I was talking with a young man, contemplating entering the seminary. As the conversation went on, I suggested a new book "Tattoos on the Heart" by Greg Boyle,sj. After several moments he looked at me and reflected "The book sounds like it is about compassion. I don't need that; I need to figure out if I have a vocation." My heart sank, as did my opinion of him, I realize he is young and still has much to see and learn. But all I could think of was who doesn't need a lesson in compassion? Jesus, our supreme example of a compassionate soul, has shown us the way to live. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mk 12:30) The 20th century has had many wonderful examples of people like this, Pope John XXIII, Dorothy Day, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Cardinal Joseph Bernadine, Mother Teresa; the list can go on and on. These men and women lived the message of Jesus "You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate." (NLT Luke 6:35) I think one of the greatest challenges of our time is to truly be present to those right in front of us, to stand with them where they are and perhaps to truly see them for the first time.