Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
'To have compassion is to suffer with, and to be able to reach out to those in need. I'm sure you have that sense of our circumstances that this moment'. In his latest message to the faithful, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli stands before the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and asks us to reflect on what it means to be people of compassion during times of suffering.
Today you might see in the background the lovely icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help—Perpetual Succour—holding the baby Jesus. And the image that you can see is, in fact, meant to indicate to us a sense of Jesus Himself, even as an infant, looking towards the cross and his mother holding him safely at this time.
One of the things that I've been able to begin to do in this particular lockdown period has been to go on Zoom meetings with some of the students in our Catholic schools. I was with one group of students during the week and their particular school has as their theme word for the year: “compassion”. It just struck me as a really important and beautiful word for this time that we're going through.
I'm sure you know that that word compassion has two parts to it – com and passion. Com, in its Latin, means ‘with’ and passio means ‘suffer’. So, to have compassion is to suffer with, and to be able to reach out to those in need. I'm sure you have that sense of our circumstances that this moment. We are all in this time of suffering, but may it be a time of ‘suffering with’. May we be also people of compassion. In doing so, we also open ourselves up to receive that gift of compassion and it is certainly the Lord who brings that to us at this time.
So go well this week – may the Lord be with you and your family and your friends. And may we all be able to be both givers of compassion, and also receivers of that gift.