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Lenten Reflections: Compassion Through Our Eyes

Mary, 3, plays in the trees near her home in Kamuli, Uganda. Her aunt, Jane Sebbi, farms matoke and other vegetables near these trees. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

Tuesday, March 26

By Nancy Adkins

“Christ has no body now but yours.  No hands, no feet on earth but yours.  Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on the world.”

These words were spoken by Teresa of Avilla, who in 15th century Spain helped to establish convents and was also known for her writings. Her words about being Christ’s hands, feet and eyes form our identity.  They give us our purpose.

Christ looks at the world with compassion through our eyes.  Matthew 9:36 tells us that “when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

40-for-1000_logo_blogPeople today still often feel helpless, hopeless, stressed, afraid and alone.  Today, they are all around you. Do you see them? Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on the world.

The late Henri Nouwen wrote,  “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless.  Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”  

Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on the world.

Yours are the Hands of Christ.  Long ago Jesus took children up in his arms, laid his hands on them and blessed them. Christ used his hands to touch and heal. Now, even today, ours are the hands with which Christ touches and blesses and heals the world.  When one is in sorrow or pain, the power of the touch is like a silent language that says everything. Many times it travels deeper than words. Your touch, your hands are the hands of Christ.

Yours are the feet of Christ.  During the last supper, he got on his knees and washed the feet of his disciples. His purpose was not to give them a bath, but to give them a posture and a role they were to imitate.  The Master was showing them that they must take the posture and role of a servant.   “I have set you an example,  that you should do as I have done to you.”  Yours are the feet of Christ. 

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console; To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Nancy Adkins is coordinator for Church and Community for the American Baptist Women’s Ministry National Executive Board.  

 

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