Reflections and Poems

SACRED HEART OF JESUS, Source of Light and Life.  (S. Bonaventure)

‘Had you but once entered perfectly into the Heart of Jesus, and tasted something of His burning love, you would care nothing for your own gain or loss; for the love of Jesus causes a man to regard himself very humbly. The true, inward lover of Jesus and the Truth, who is free from inordinate desires, can turn freely to God, rise above self, and joyfully rest in God.’ (S. Thomas a Kempis. 15th c. ‘The Imitation of Christ’. Ch.26)

“The Lord doesn’t look so much at the greatness of our works as at the love by which they are done.” (S. Teresa of Avila)

‘Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.’ (attributed to S. Theresa of Avila)

“He is compassion and filled with gentleness, slow to punish and abundant in mercy for He knows our frailty, He knows we are but dust. … Show love and compassion even to the unlovable as God loves you. We work not in vain when working for our Lord, acts of kindness and you might not see it but it makes a difference in our little parts of life.’  (S. Thérèsa of Lisieux)

A Cherokee elder was teaching his children about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to them. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”  The grandchildren thought about it and after a minute one of them asked, “Which wolf will win?”  The elder simply replied, “The one you feed.”  (Cherokee proverb)

‘Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.’  (Albert Schweitzer)

A Prayer of Silent Love
To rest a tired head upon Thy Heart,
And to be still –
To come to Thee from the whole world apart
And learn Thy Will –
And in that will, because it is Thy will, to live and die,
Knowing Thy love and will are one eternally.
that be my way of prayer –
That brings me where Thou art –
Heaven is there.
Father Andrew SDC, Poems, Mowbray, 1950

O Heart of Jesus, Sacred, Passionate,
Anguish it was, yet anguish that was bliss,
To love them heart to heart, each selfish heart,
To clasp them close, and pray in utter truth –
‘Father, forgive, they know not what they do.’
One was the heart of him that ground the poor,
Poor weary heart, so blinded and misled!

One was the heart of her that reeked in shame,
Poor weary heart, so blinded and misled!
One was my heart, that wasted half its years,
And knew so little how to use the rest
To God’s sole glory, and the love of men,
Poor weary heart, so blinded and misled!
from ‘The Death of St. Francis’ by Fr. Arthur Shearley Cripps (1869-1952)

‘It is very important to realize that compassion is more than sympathy or empathy. When we are asked to listen to the pains of people and empathize with their suffering, we soon reach our emotional limits. We can listen only for a short time and only to a few people. In our society we are bombarded with so much “news” about human misery that our hearts easily get numbed simply because of overload. But God’s compassionate heart does not have limits. God’s heart is greater, infinitely greater, than the human heart. It is that divine heart that God wants to give to us so that we can love all people without burning out or becoming numb. It is for this com-passionate heart that we pray when we say: “A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit” (Ps 51). The Holy Spirit of God is given to us so that we can become participants in God’s compassion and so reach out to all people at all times with God’s heart.
‘Here and Now’:  Henri Nouwen, Crossroad, 1994, pp. 109-110

‘When Jesus was moved to compassion, the source of all life trembled, the ground of all love burst open and the abyss of God’s immense, inexhaustible and unfathomable love revealed itself.’
‘Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life’.  Henri Nouwen. p. 14

‘Action with and for those who suffer is the concrete expression of the compassionate life and the final criterion of being a Christian.’
‘Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life’.  Henri Nouwen

from: A PILGRIM’S BOOK OF PRAYERS
Who may sing the song of Love?
Those only who give all, without reserve,
hold nothing back,
‘tis they who know the joy,
the quickening pain of Love;
‘tis they who taught by adoration
hold the Heart of Love,
and touch all loveless hearts to life
by giving Love.
From Love in Love
the leaping flame of Love is spread,
for none can love except by Love possessed.
The love that is outpoured
was first Love’s gift of love.
Give, give, and give again is Love’s own song.
For Love is giving love
and there is no end to Love.
Love is as the incense which giveth up
its sweetness as it is consumed.
Naked of all save love went Love,
till naked in body, wounded,
pierced in agony of love,
Love broke the casket of the fount of love,
that he might draw all souls
to find their end within the Heart of God.
Love waits so still,
for love must answer Love,
and we have wounded Love, betrayed, denied our Love.
… O Lord, remember me.

(p.85)

‘To walk in His ways, these are the ways of the Holy One: ‘Gracious and compassionate, patient, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, assuring love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and granting pardon.” (Ex.34:6)  This means that just as God is gracious and compassionate, you too must be gracious and compassionate.  The Adonai is compassionate in all His ways and loving in all His deeds. (Ps.145:17).  As the Holy One is righteous, so must you be righteous.  As the Holy One is loving, you must be loving.’
‘The Call of Freedom’ by Rabbi Karen Gluckstern-Reiss. p.111

“… compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering.  It’s not passive — it’s not empathy alone — but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering.  Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving-kindness.  That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving-kindness).”
‘The Essence of the Heart Sutra’  by the Dalai Lama

“Anoint my heart with warmth and compassion and a genuine generosity toward all who are in need.” (Miriam Therese Winter)

“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world.  Let us use love and compassion.”  (‘In the Heart of the World’.  S. Theresa of Calcutta. 1997)

“O God break open my heart so that the whole world may fall in.” (S. Teresa of Calcutta)