Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

Posts tagged ‘fear’

Compassion – Daily Meditation

Matthew 9:35-36

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Compassion.  A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering (dictionary.com).

I love my dog.  Absolutely.  One hundred percent.  If she is scared, or hurt, my first instinct is to do whatever I can to help her feel better.  If she is lost, I want to find her and lead her home.  If she is scared, I want to be there to help calm her fears.  If she is being harassed by another dog, I want to be there to protect her.  I love her, what more can I say?  We love our dogs, and it is only natural to want to be there for them should they be “stricken by misfortune.”

Compassion is one of the ways God is described.  We see it in the story about Jesus looking at the crowds following him, and seeing beyond the moment to recognize that they were hungering after something most of them probably couldn’t even name.  They were seeking direction, meaning, and healing.  Jesus met them where they were, and offered them what they needed.  Why?  Because he had compassion.

In looking for signs of God in our world and day, you may want to start by looking for simple acts of kindness and compassion done by ordinary people.  I believe it is through ordinary people like you and me that God most often chooses to be present and act in the world.  It calls to mind a poem by Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun who lived from 1515-1582, called “Christ Has No Body.”

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

  • What was your closest moment to God today?
  • When did you see someone offer compassion to another today?
  • Did you have an opportunity to offer compassion to another today?  If so, why did you, or perhaps, why did you not?

Spirit – Daily Meditation

The last gift of the wise men was myrrh, an oil used for healing and for releasing the spirit so that the fullness of its being can emerge.  I look at my dog, Jas, and I see a wonderful spirit that is trapped inside a blanket of fear.  For whatever reason, Jas lives much of her life looking for the next thing to be afraid of.  We work hard to overcome that, and it brings a smile to my face to see her in those moments when she has forgotten her fear and is joyfully living life it’s fullness, running, jumping, playing, and dancing in the presence of her favorite toy, or her favorite person.  The reality is, though, that in spite of those moments, there will always be something of that fear within her.  In spite of that, my goal is to help heal that fear to the very best of my ability, so that her spirit can be set free, so that she can fully and completely live a joyful life.

Many, if not all of us, have something within us that keeps us from living life to its full and joyfully entering every moment of this life that is given to us.  I can put many names to that “thing” – a sense of worthlessness, a fear of what others might think of us, afraid of appearing, weak, vulnerable, of being laughed at, and the list could go on.  Whatever the source, no one goes through this life without receiving wounds and hurts.  As long as those wounds remain unhealed, they will keep us from fully living the life we were created to live.  They will be a blanket that traps our spirits and keeps us from fully engaging and living the life we were created for.

Healing is possible.  Animals have a wonderful ability to help healing happen.  Somehow they are able to help provide the “space” that is needed for healing to happen, and the love that we need to trust in a healing power.  Good friends and compansionship has the ability to help healing happen – when we connect with others, we open a conduit to God.  I invite you to reflect on the wounds you carry, and the healing you wish for.

  • Sometimes we describe our wounds as a void or a longing to be filled, sometimes we recall specific events or relationships in which we were wounded, but we may not fully grasp how deeply they affected us.  I invite you to call to mind, in words or images, the wounds you carry.
  • Image that you are gently cradling those wounds in your hands.
  • You may wish to hold them out as an offering and a prayer, perhaps with words, or perhaps in silence, knowing that God also hears the prayers we have no words for.
  • There is no need to ask for anything specific, simply ask God to surround them and you with love.