As Mother’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the Mega-Mother: Mother Theresa. She wrote an essay on compassion. She called it “the purest form of love”. I completely agree. Compassion is very dear, greatly valued and becoming so increasingly rare; people would pay high hourly rates to mental health professionals just to get some.
What exactly is compassion and why is it so important for our well-being? The etymology of the word compassion comes from the Latin and means “to suffer with.” Mothers can have the uncanny ability to feel what their children are feeling. They have the gift of being able to fully feel the pain and suffering of a child; sometimes for anyone’s child and they feel with them in the present moment as the suffering occurs.
Suffering with another in the present moment is what distinguishes compassion from sympathy, empathy, pity or other kindnesses. Suffering together in the present moment is face-to-face; person-to-person; not through Facebook, emails or blogs. It is extremely powerful in its ability to heal; sometimes miraculously.
Mother Theresa considered compassion to serve as divine respect for another. She embodied this in her vocation to be of service to humans in need. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s be inspired by her to break away from our “electronic” attachments and have some real-time compassion for any “child” who is struggling. Engaging in compassion has the power to renew our ability to be tender-hearted and present for another. Who couldn’t use some of that?