Fourth Thursday of Advent, 24 December 2020
In today’s reflection, Waiting in Joyful Hope author Michelle Francl-Donnay reflects on Luke 1:78-79, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and ripples of compassion.
In the comments section below, share your own response to today’s scripture, Francl-Donnay’s reflection, or the accompanying meditation prompt.
To have a tender compassion for another sometimes takes the Ignatian spiritual gift of agere contra: to go against my first impulse. Too often in the last four years- let’s be real, anytime in my life when someone has an opinion at the polar opposite of my own- I have not offered a tender compassion, but instead have meted out righteous indignation. To practice agere contra, I will have to hold my initial reaction at bay and listen with my heart. What led this person to this conclusion? What am I missing? Only then will empathy and compassion dawn in me to complete whatever it is God is attempting to accomplish within that relationship.
The winter storm we are about to have reminds me of a compassionate chain reaction I have experienced a number of times. I lived most of my life on the near west side of Cleveland on a street with very few driveways. After a big snow people who lived on the street and others just trying to make their way down the street would frequently get together to push cars stuck in the snow and at times help shovel someone’s snow. I would see neighbors I knew and neighbors I did not know and we would help each other. Someone would start helping someone else and it grew usually ending up being kind of festive.