Free to Be Compassionate!

Free to Be Compassionate

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

I John 4:7-17

Romans 8:35-39

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of  heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:34-36


Free to Be Compassionate by Henri Nouwen

“If you would ask the Desert Fathers why solitude gives birth to compassion, they would say, “Because it makes us die to our neighbor.” At first this answer seems quite disturbing to a modern mind. But when we give it a closer look we can see that in order to be of service to others we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others. To die to our neighbors means to stop judging them, to stop evaluating them, and thus to become free to be compassionate. Compassion can never coexist with judgment because judgment creates the distance, the distinction, that prevents us from really being with the other.”

    On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus I see a heart that is broken in his listening and walking with us. For Jesus does not judge us, but loves us despite ourselves.

    Franklin Roosevelt during his first inaugural address, said”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    It is fear that prevents us from caring for others without judgment. Fear of losing control, fear of being hurt, fear of rejection,   fear of what others think of us, and fear of the differences of others. We are afraid of people out side of our own tribe, and in doing so we simply do not listen–we judge–and we hurt others.

    I spend ninety nine percent of my time simply listening, just listening. And one of the reasons I do not share much with others is rather than listening an opinion or advice is given, and judgment is brought. Our fears prevent us from truly listening and separate us from others.

    Jesus opens himself to us, we can enter into his  being, and in so doing he enters our hearts and simply listens, and we are loved; in the same way we to can open ourselves, let others come in, and we into their hearts, and be present with out judgment.

    Yes, we will be hurt, we will  receive scars, but in that pain come redemption, we are made into new creatures in Christ. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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