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.
Imagine a revolution of the heart exploding and releasing abundant and overflowing compassion. In this moment, I remembered a YouTube by Sister Joan Chittister who reflects about compassion as the emotion that connects us to all beings in our Earth Home and compels us to reach out to those who are suffering. She also refers to the many scientific studies indicating that each of our brains is hard-wired for compassion. Just imagine the potential for a compassionate revolution, with all of us being hard-wired for compassion. (Sister Joan was a member of the Council of Conscience who wrote the Charter for Compassion.)
Pause for a few moments – come to the quiet, repeat slowly and feel – I am hard-wired for compassion – I am hard-wired for compassion – I am hard-wired for compassion
Our Global Community cannot wait, now is the hour for a compassion revolution. We are the ones. Are we ready? Perhaps, like me, your response is yes/no. Although, we are hard-wired for compassion, there are times when we fail to respond. Hopefully, in those instances the compassion hard-wire will jolt our hearts. May it ignite each of us with energy, hope and desire to bring a golden light of compassion and love to our Global Community.
For a revolution, companions are indispensable. The Charter for Compassion, with over 200,000 members, is now in its 10th year. The Charter, initiated by Karen Armstrong, is rooted in the Golden Rule that permeates all religions: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). In its tenth year there is phenomenal growth and activity within the membership of the Charter for Compassion.
As I was thinking of the crying needs of our time, I remembered that the Charter for Compassion has added the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations to its agenda. The United Nations goal is to achieve Sustainable Development by 2030. The focus is to build a better world, improve the lives of people everywhere and to leave no one behind. For me, this is what a Revolution of Compassion is about. I invite each of us to join the Charter for Compassion or to find some way to be part of a compassionate journey, a revolution of compassion.