I am currently travelling through New Zealand at the end of a mild wet winter. In this landscape vibrant with green, inundated with showers, it is hard to imagine what drought would be like. Yet I must do that. Central Queensland is where I have come from and to where I will return and I am part of what happens to the people that form my larger community. Recognising what happens to those outside my personal circle is essential if I want to be a true compassionate human being, if I want to call myself Christian.
As God became human in Jesus, we can know that he knows what we go through, what we experience. But for us to appreciate what happens to others, we have to find out what is happening to them and to use our imagination to feel for them. When this is done, our help to others can be practical and sensitive. The project in our schools to help the farming community out west is an excellent example of this compassion at work. Drought doesn’t just affect the farmers, it also impacts on the town communities. The decision to give vouchers that can be used by local businesses helps not just individuals and families but the wider community.
As this project has been begun in our schools, what has happened is that the students themselves are coming up with creative initiatives to help raise funds. This is the marvel of good compassion. It not only stretches our hearts, minds and imaginations, it makes us into creative people. As we reach out to help, we become Godlike. Entering into the life and struggles of others, we become like Jesus and his life and love can flow through us.
Loving God, give me a wide heart and a good imagination and mind to enter into the suffering of others and to help them in sensitive and loving ways. We pray for those suffering from the drought, that they may have rain. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb