"Does my heart suffer with those people?"
During his homily at Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on what true compassion is, challenging everyone to not have superficial feelings when watching people suffer on TV.
“So often we see the news on TV, or the cover of the paper, the tragedies… And the question I ask now… is, ‘Am I able to have compassion? To pray? When I see these things, that they bring to me at home, through the media… am I moved in the depths of my being? Does my heart suffer with those people; or do I feel pain, do I say, ‘Poor people,’ and the like?’ And if you can’t have compassion, ask for the grace: ‘Lord, give me the grace of compassion,” Pope Francis said, according to Vatican Radio.
Pope Francis was reflecting on the raising of the widow’s son from the dead from the Gospel of St. Luke. The story invites the listener to reflect on what true compassion consists. Francis said, “Compassion is a sentiment that gets involved, it is a sentiment of the heart, of the viscera, it involves the whole person. It’s not the same as ‘pain,’ or of [saying] ‘How sad, poor people!:’ No, it’s not the same. Compassion gets involved. It is ‘suffering with.’ This is compassion.”
“Jesus does not say, ‘So long, I’m continuing on my way.’ No. He takes the child, and what does it say? ‘He restored him to his mother.’… Jesus performs miracles to restore, to return people to their proper place. And that is what He did with the redemption. He had compassion—God had compassion—He drew near to us in His Son, and He restored all of us to the dignity of children of God. He has re-created all of us.”
He ended his homily by encouraging everyone to express their compassion with “prayers of intercession,” asking God’s help to restore those who are suffering to society.