On the 9th anniversary of the Charter for Compassion

compassion logoDuring the early days of November, I began some special time dedicated to reflecting about my relationship with compassion and wisdom, about the Charter for Compassion. My longing is to be ever mindful of compassion as a grace to myself and a gift to share with others.

Knowing that as I live in the waning years of life, my desire is to live compassion to its fullest. To offer love, compassion and wisdom to all without exception, means to be open to suffering. Without a doubt, compassion has its highs and lows: some moments my heart readily opens, and then there are moments when I have to nudge it — sometimes gently, sometimes intensely, sometimes my heart fails to open.

Suddenly on November 8, my heart and soul went into anguish as I heard of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California — 12 of our sisters and brothers were killed, about 21 others were injured. This was the 307 mass shooting in 311 days during 2018. A previous mass shooting occurred on October 27 in Pittsburgh, killing 12 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Sorrow upon sorrow engulfs us.

What has happened to the Golden Rule? “Treat others and the planet as you would like to be treated.” Other questions come: who is really safe from violence? Thinking about our world: is anyone safe in our global community? Uncertainty seems to be the norm of our lives. How do we live together in these uncertain times? Can we be free enough to allow our hearts of compassion to freely flow without fear, to embrace ourselves and all living creatures near and far? Let’s help each other be free!

As I began this time of reflecting on my relationship with the Charter for Compassion, I was aware that its ninth anniversary was approaching: November 12 2009 – November 12, 2018. I wondered about how many people belong to the Charter? The best estimate given is over two million.

During November 2017 preparation for the tenth anniversary began with a campaign to get one million new affirmations to the Charter for Compassion by November 12, 2019, commemorating its tenth year. Since then, we have approximately 3310 new members. Perhaps you would like to join the Charter for Compassion. Visit: https://charterforcompassion.org/

With the approval of its Board of Directors, the Christine Center became a member of the Charter for Compassion on October 24, 2014. As we celebrate our fourth anniversary, we invite you to share your compassionate reflections by visiting Our Circle of Compassion on our website: http://www.christinecenter.org

We close with these words from Karen Armstrong who initiated the Charter for Compassion:

“In compassion, when we feel with the other,
we dethrone ourselves from the center of our world
and we put another person there.”

Ripples of Hope, Courage and Compassion

By Henrita Frost, SSND

Recently, I heard former first lady, Michelle Obama say “I am tired of daily chaos.”  She was in Miami giving a speech at a “WhenWeAllVote” Rally.  Michelle’s words resonated deeply with me.  A desire has been growing within me to transcend CHAOS’s hold on me, to free my soul and spirit.  The world doesn’t need me preoccupied with chaos, but to overcome it with love and compassion.  A new moment, a growing desire within me to move forward with ripples of hope, courage, compassion and so much more.  I wonder what it means and where it will take me.

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The Mission Awaits…

By Henrita Frost, SSND

The Mission Awaits
Perpetual Peacemakers
Walking Together

Presently we are in the Season of Creation, which began on September 1 with the World Day of Prayer for Creation, and extends through October 4 the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology and the creator of the Canticle of Creation.  The Theme is WALKING TOGETHER.  It invites us to journey together on a pilgrimage to better care for all of creation.  However, we all know the task of the Season of Creation is continuous.

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Hope, Hopes Compassion

By Henrita Frost, SSND

Hope, Hopes Compassion

The recent 73rd Anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, brought profound sadness as we remembered the hundreds of thousands of deaths of our Japanese sisters and brothers and the devastation of their common home.  The sadness becomes traumatic as we realize that it could possibly happen again in our lifetime.

Recently, we heard about a soul shaking interchange between two world leaders.  One world leader threatened the other with the “mother of all wars” and the second world leader responded: “Never ever threaten us again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

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Love and Compassion

By Henrita Frost, SSND

For several days I have been reflecting on writing once again about the challenge of a Revolution of Compassion.  Contemplating compassion consumes my thoughts: self- compassion and the call to companion others with compassion.  I asked myself:  What can I write that I haven’t written?  Then I began to hear one of my favorite songs within me, ”Goodbye, Mr. Chips”.

In the morning of my life I shall look to the sunrise. . .
And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me,
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.

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Fire up Compassion

By Henrita Frost, SSND

Yes, fire up and create an unconditional compassion revolution! We wonder where to begin!  Start with self – transformation, growing a compassionate heart, one by one. It is a challenge that doesn’t go away, though we sometimes try to avoid it.

The call is to stand up before our chaotic world – stand, meet the chaos, feel the chaos, let it touch our hearts, break our hearts – feel the excruciating pain. Cry out in grief at the possible destruction of our planet, our home, and every creature.

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“In God’s House there are many dwelling places”…

By Henrita Frost, SSND

Periodically a window in our Mary of the Angels Chapel holds a message out to me.   Its center calls to me – this window’s center is speaking loud and clear:  “In God’s house there are many dwelling places”. . . (John 14:2).  But, what is the message of our Global Community – In our house there are many dwelling places – room for everyone!?  Instead, we witness borders, and walls instead of room for everyone.

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Brilliant light appears Awakening the souls path Spirit leads, hearts follow

By Henrita Frost, SSND

During the days following the 24-hour Global celebration of the Golden Rule on April 5, the vibrations of it continued to shake the earth – as did the feel of the tens of thousands of our sisters and brothers actively witnessing the significance of the Golden Rule to our global existence.  Yet, as the celebration energized our beings, the awareness of the pain and suffering of millions of our sisters and brothers was also in our consciousness.  The call to be involved in a revolution of compassion is here forever.  The Spirit’s call to awaken our souls, petitions our hearts to follow.

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A Revolution of Compassion

By Henrita Frost, SSND

As I read these words by Dorothy Day, my immediate response was – a revolution of the heart, a revolution of compassion.  During the many times that I have meditated and reflected on compassion, I have hesitated to use the word ‘revolution’ because of its violent history.  Recently, I listened to Pope Francis’ TED talk about “The Future You” during which he expressed the hope for a Revolution of Tenderness.  Immediately, I started uttering additional revolution hopes for our times – a revolution of compassion, of love.  Perhaps the thought of a revolution is taking on a contemporary meaning for our historical times – a nonviolent revolution.

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Valentine’s Day

By Henrita Frost, SSND

Every year on Valentine’s Day I celebrate an anniversary of compassion.  I take time to rest in the gift of life, of a beating heart, as I remember a moment when the beating heart could have stopped, shut down.  At a former place of ministry, an angry guest slashed my right cheek with a blade.  This terrifying event brought me a gift of compassion that I always remember.  When the ambulance attendant asked me to lie down, I replied I can’t.  He embraced me and held me all the way to the hospital.  His gift of compassion dulled the fear that was alive within me.  The thirty-second anniversary of that embrace continues to inspire my compassion.

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