Let's recover a sense of compassion Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Sep. 12, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines compassion as a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it."

Perhaps it’s the constant news of disasters deluging us these days, but it seems as if many people have lost a sense of compassion. We’ve almost become numb to the suffering of others, whether it be from mass shootings, natural disasters, immigrants’ distress, or wars.

Christ showed compassion

Yet, if we’re followers of Christ, we must show compassion to others. Jesus unwaveringly showed compassion for the lost, for the sick, for everyone in need whom he met.

There were times when Jesus — in his human nature — was tired, yet he always reveals compassion for people around him. In Matthew 14:14, it says, “When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Many passages from the Scriptures mention the importance of compassion. For example, Colossians 3:12-13 says: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

So the followers of Christ have a clear mandate: to show compassion to others. How can we do that today?

Compassion begins at home

Of course, compassion begins at home: in our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. We should care for those in need physically and spiritually. That means treating people with kindness and respect, especially when they are suffering from illnesses and injuries, or grieving from the death of a loved one.

It might mean paying a visit, bringing some food, or running an errand for someone who is sick in our family or neighborhood. Hugs are always appreciated! It might mean volunteering at a community meal program or homeless center, such as the Catholic Multicultural Center or The Beacon in Madison, helping at food pantries run by Catholic Charities, or donating to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Needs beyond local communities

There are also many needs beyond our local communities. A perfect example right now is providing relief for the victims of Hurricane Dorian, which has devastated many areas of the Bahamas and the southeastern United States.

Bishop Donald J. Hying has encouraged parishes in the Diocese of Madison to take up a special collection for hurricane relief. People can also make donations online at the following sites:

• Disaster Relief at the Office of Stewardship and Development of the Diocese of Madison (, click “Donate Online”, then click on “Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief”

• Catholic Relief Services (

• Catholic Charities USA (

I encourage people to show compassion to those in need both at home and on a larger scale. Let’s be true followers of Jesus and recover our sense of compassion. Maybe we will be an example for others to imitate.