Many of us are aware of the presence of hate, fear, bigotry and anger in our society – and see a growing lack of compassion, not least for those who some perceive ‘don’t belong’. And we might even be aware of the way these feelings can begin to fill our own hearts. It’s not always a virtue that’s easy to express.
But if you sense that we need to be more compassionate towards each other, then you might be interested in a new online, ecumenical Spiritual Association that’s in formation. It’s called Companions of the Compassionate Hearts of Jesus and Mary (CCHJM) and it seeks to enable members (Companions) to express compassion by nurturing this virtue.
Compassion lies at the heart of all the world’s great religions and forms an essential aspect of the Christian Faith. As the well-known writer and theologian, Henri Nouwen, wrote: ‘When Jesus was moved to compassion, the source of all life trembled, the ground of all love burst open and the abyss of God’s immense, inexhaustible and unfathomable love revealed itself.’ * Compassion is not the same as feeling sorry for people but is an active being-alongside. And it all begins with having self-compassion.
Companions adopt a simple Rule. They seek to:
Ø to spend time each day in the presence of Compassionate Heart of Jesus;
Ø express compassion in a practical way;
Ø make a compassion Examen (reflection) each day;
Ø recognise the value of the Sacrament of Confession in seeking to fulfil the psalmist’s plea: ‘Make me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’
If you don’t feel you can take on this Rule but would like to be connected it's possible to become and Associate. Associates accept the Aims and Purpose of the Association and promise to seek ways of fostering compassion in their hearts and living out of that charism. They will also receive Compassion Quarterly, the publication of the online Association.
It doesn’t cost anything to join (except to work on being a compassionate person!) and there aren’t any meetings to attend. You can find out more from the website: www.cchjm.org
* ‘ Compassion – A Reflection on the Christian Life’. DLT. 2008