“Let me see what I can do to help.”
Spoken over the phone to Sandra Prather, that statement reduced her to tears after she and her husband tried for months to find assistance for a family member. This person was experiencing a hard time after an undiagnosed medical condition forced him to quit his job – triggering a downward spiral of stress.
“For the first time in months, I got a person who actually listened to me. Who actually took the time to hear what the problems were; express both care and concern for what this family member was going through,” Sandra said during our Agency’s monthly Sophia Talks presentation in November. She is an educator and facilitator in faith and spirituality who often leads workshops, retreats and missions for organizations.
“What I encountered with that man was his compassion. He was the only one who would take the time to draw near to hear, and then to try and make a difference for us.”
Using that personal story as the foundation, Sandra’s speech to CSS staff discussed the impact of being guided by mercy and being moved by compassion to make a difference in someone’s life.
Noting that Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy recently concluded, she said the Pope challenged people to leave the door to mercy open in their hearts.
“If that’s the way God is with us, then that’s the way we, in turn, are to be with one another. That we are to look on one another with mercy, with compassion, and with lovingkindness,” Sandra said with a nod to Jesus seeking out the marginalized due to his compassion for others.
She also touched on what it means to truly feel compassion for someone: “To have compassion for someone is to have a deep feeling, to allow yourself to be moved. To allow yourself to feel with – to feel with what they’re suffering, to feel with what they’re grieving, to feel with what their pain is. It’s to allow yourself to feel with the other.”
She concluded: “True compassion, then, is our willingness to go and be with the other, especially… those who are on the edges, the marginalized, those who have no voice. That’s what true compassion looks like.”
Sandra's full speech can be viewed in the video above.