I recently came across a photo that was taken of another photo hanging in a Libyan grocery store. It was of a young Libyan man who seemed to be in his 20’s. He had a far away look to him, as if he didn’t know where he was. Underneath the picture were words in Arabic. The English translation was something like this: “If you know this man come to room H5 at the hospital.”
As I sat there and pondered this picture and the terrible situation this poor man was in, I could feel the compassion rising within my soul. I knew it was our Lord’s compassion and that it was a gift. Then I began to ask myself questions: What caused the amnesia? Was he a rebel fighter seeking freedom? Was he a Gaddafi loyalist fighting to keep the regime in power? Was he simply on his way home and got caught in a crossfire, which caused brain injuries? Did he have a family? A daughter? A son? A beautiful young wife? Will they find him? Will his mom and dad ever see him again? Will he ever regain his memory? Will he have to build a whole new life? How many others has this happened to?
So often in our lives we encounter people and situations that require a response of us. We have two options: we can either keep on walking because we “don’t want to get involved”, or “it isn’t our business” and then walk by as if we had never come upon the person or situation. Or we can make a different choice, a choice of compassion, a choice filled with selflessness.
Believe it or not in each moment of the day we are faced with many of these choices—big ones, yes, but also many, many small ones. It’s those small choices that can really alter and change the course of our life and the lives of those involved, in a permanent way, for the good or for the bad. Each moment we’re given the opportunity to gain for ourselves or to gain for others. Each moment we can choose to seek our own needs or to seek the needs of others. Each moment we can choose to help ourselves or to help others. What an amazing thought it is that each moment can be filled with God through a conscious choice to say a prayer for those involved in a tragedy that we just heard reported on the news; or to let His compassion permeate our soul’s when we see a homeless man on the streets; or to have concern for the welfare of our neighbor who is sick and homebound; or to think thoughts of love and kindness for those that we know are in terrible need, whether spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
All this can take place in a split second because it’s an underlying disposition of heart of compassion and service through prayer (or, if the situation calls for it, physical involvement and help). What kind of ripple effect could take place in the world if we all started to let our Lord’s compassion and service animate our souls, causing us to live an “eye’s outward” lifestyle? Today let’s consider how we can make this disposition of heart our own in whatever way our Lord desires it for us. Then let’s take one more step closer to our Lord in each new moment that follows, bringing all those we know of and those we encounter each moment to Him, in prayerful or physical service, that He may look after them, bind their wounds, balm their hearts and hold them close to His tender Heart. Amen.
–By Br. James of the Holy Spirit, OSIHJM