Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 05 March |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Jeremiah of Wallachia
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

What is the place of compassion in Christianity?

Cheapbooks - Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 10/28/19

Compassion is a central aspect of Christian belief, something that is meant to be a defining attribute of Christians.

Much is said about compassion in the modern world and unfortunately, Christians are not always at the center of the discussion. In reality, compassion is supposed to be one of the defining virtues of Christians, as it is found in the center of the Gospel message.

The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has provided one of the most succinct explanations of compassion in a document they published in 1990 entitled Called to Compassion and Responsibility.

Compassion is much more than sympathy. It involves an experience of intimacy by which one participates in another’s life. The Latin word misericordia expresses the basic idea: The compassionate person has a heart for those in misery. This is not simply the desire to be kind. The truly compassionate individual works at his or her own cost for the others’ real good, helping to rescue them from danger as well as alleviate their suffering.

Compassion can also be described as a “suffering with,” highlighting an ability to accompany someone in their suffering.

As noted in the above quotation, compassion “is not simply the desire to be kind.” While kindness is part of the equation, true compassion means going of out one’s way to be present to someone in need of help.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is probably the most concrete example of compassion, presenting a model of how we should not only help someone in need, but make an attempt to ensure their future.

Jesus also repeatedly displayed his compassion for others, recognizing their suffering and walking with them with love and mercy.

Furthermore, compassion is meant to be open to all those who are suffering, regardless of their situation. Christians are challenged to show compassion to all people, even to the most hardened sinners. Compassion is centered on showing Christ’s love to all people, showing them the ultimate pathway to Heaven through concrete acts of love.

Christianity and compassion go hand-in-hand.


Read more:
6 Ways that practicing mercy can save your family


Read more:
12 Quotes to remember when you need to show mercy to yourself or others

Divine MercySpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
10 Mysterious things to know about guardian angels
Philip Kosloski
10 Things you should know about St. Joseph
J-P Mauro
Let these Dublin nuns raise your spirits with this viral dance
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
5 Theological truths to see in the Transfigured Christ
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Do you know the 3 words that describe God’s style? Pope Fra...
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.