The virtue of the month for Challenge and Conquest in May is compassion. Compassion is the willingness to help anyone in need, especially those in need of pardon or forgiveness.  Mercy is very similar in its root – to love people as God loves them.  When we see someone who is suffering, we show them compassion. The greatest form of suffering is to not know God or his love. That is why there are spiritual works of mercy to help people get close to God.

It is almost impossible to be merciful if you do not have compassion. You can remember the message of mercy and our mission to be compassionate with the simple ABC’s. A = Ask for God’s Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world. B = Be merciful and compassionate. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us. C= Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.  Venerable Fulton J Sheen once said “As we show mercy, we shall receive mercy. We harvest what we sow. ”

The best way to become more compassionate is to think more about other people rather than thinking about yourself. On the back of the Challenge Holy Card we can find a wonderful little prayer to help us be creative and  live the virtue of compassion. Virtue takes hard work but we also need God’s grace, so asking for God’s help to live a virtue is always a good idea.  “Lord, open my eyes to see those people in need.  I want to use the means I have to help. Give me the courage to use my imagination & not be suppressed by doubt when You inspire me. I want tobe Your apostle of compassion to a world in need of love. Amen.”

The Catechism also speaks of Christ as an example of compassion  in #1503  “Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.”