compassion


Chaplain's Corner: Compassion - The Forgotten Virtue

by Fr. George Morelli

Even a casual look at the world today would reveal an abundance of self-centeredness and fixation on ideologies. Compassion is well hidden. This despite many of the world religions and the findings of psychologists teaching that mercy and compassion lead to favorable personal and social outcomes. The Hebrew prophet Ezra tells us,” For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will find compassion with their captors, and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him." (2Chr 30: 9).  Buddha taught that, "Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed." [http://www.compassion.ancientfountainofyouth.com/about.html].

Our Eastern Church Father St. Isaac of Syria links compassion to an essential characteristic of God Himself: "God's holy nature is so good and compassionate that it is always seeking to find some small means of setting us right." St. Isaac also points out that, "Among all God's actions there is none which is not entirely a matter of mercy, love and compassion: this constitutes the beginning and end of His dealing with us." (Brock, 1997).

Clergy Burnout and Fatigue

By Fr. George Morelli

“The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 

And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.  For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat”.  (Mk 6:30-31)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.(Mt 11:28)

In emulation of Our Lord Himself, priests are “on call” at all times.  As St. Mark records of Jesus in his Gospel (1:33-34): “And the whole city was gathered together about the door.  And [H]e healed many who were sick with various diseases…The priest, the icon of the healing Christ, is the instrumental physician of the souls they pastor.  In the role of healer, the priest  must hear their flock recount their personal problems. As discussed in Morelli, 2006c). many of these problems involve uttermost human and spiritual suffering, the disclosure of dysfunctional emotional reactions such as anger, anxiety and depression, the confession of helplessness, hopelessness and estrangement from God.