A Little Bit of Mercy and Compassion

"A little bit of mercy
makes the world less cold
and more just."
~ Pope Francis

Yesterday, after I finished reading the Sunday papers, I noticed I was very sad. Practically everything I read was depressing. The despair felt contagious. I was overwhelmed by the state of affairs in the world. How did we get this way?

I thought to myself, we need more mercy and compassion...

It so happens that I have been reading the book "Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy," by Anne Lamott, a very timely little tome indeed!

I quoted this book in my last entry, but now I am knee deep in it.

Ironically, on page 51 (Psalm 51 is the Miserere, one of my favorite and most recited, I could not help but note), Lamott offers this explanation:

"Misericordia is Latin for 'mercy,' from misericors, 'merciful,' which is 'to pity,' and cor, 'heart.' Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone's troubles. It's not something you do - it is something in you, accessed, revealed, or cultivated through use, like a muscle. We find it in the most unlikely places, never where we first look."

And there lies the reality - mercy is something in us, that we must flex, use, and cultivate - but somehow we seem to have forgotten how to do it...

Instead, we consider pulling the rug out from underneath so many in need in our country, in this world, in our neighborhoods. And we target others because of their differences.

And I ask myself once more, HOW did we get here?

Perhaps that does not matter as much as setting in motion an antidote and plan for its reversal.

It is so upsetting to me to be assaulted by a daily exposition and litany of rants and hate - and note that most of our headlines seem to highlight or glorify base behavior. It is not where I thought I would be at this stage of my life - having to defend the very tenets I hold sacred. I always assumed that with the passage of time, we would be further along the evolutionary scale, at least in terms of consciousness.

It pains me deeply to see what I see and to read what I read.

And yet, I cannot give up hope...

I do believe, that each and every one of us can make a difference, one instant at a time - and one person at time...

Every time we reach out to lend a helping hand to someone in need - every time we murmur a prayer for someone suffering - and every time we smile with love at a stranger we have exercised that muscle of compassion - we have shown mercy - and we have made a difference.

Let us now - starting today - in this very moment - pledge to spread a little bit more mercy and compassion and turn the tide around! Just start with one little thing. After all, our lives are nothing more, and nothing less than an accumulation of actions and small deeds of compassion and mercy!


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