Lord, you have taught us

that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,

the true bond of peace and of all virtues,

without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.                         The Collect for Trinity 2

“splagcnizomai” (splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee )- compassion

“splanxna,” – guts, heart, bowels…

As he walked through the villages and saw the crowds afflicted with sickness and disease, “he had compassion on them.” When he saw the hungry, “he had compassion on them,” healed the sick, and fed the five thousand. When thronged by another “large crowd” of the lame, the blind, the crippled, and the dumb, he told his disciples, “I have compassion for these people.” And when he left Jericho followed by yet another “large crowd,” and two blind beggars screamed for help, “Jesus had compassion on them” and healed them.

The two most famous parables in the Bible are about “splagcnizomai” . In contrast to the insider religious professionals, the outsider Good Samaritan “had compassion” on the man beaten up by thugs. And while the prodigal son “was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.”

As Jesus is being nailed to the cross, in amazing “splagcnizomai”, he prays, ‘Father forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.’

‘splagcnizomai’ does not come from any sense of duty or expectation. ‘splagcnizomai’ is born of heart felt, gut wrenching love.

One day a doctor ran into the hospital having been called in to an emergency. A young boy was dying after a road accident. Before he could get into the operating theatre, the boy’s father grabbed him, red face, fuming, ‘Why have you taken so long to get here, my boy’s dying no thanks to you?!’ The doctor slowed a moment and gently explained, ‘I wasn’t in the hospital. I’m not working today but I got here as fast as I could. Now I’d like you to calm down so I can do my job.’

‘Calm down?!’ screamed the father. It’s alright for you. What would you do if it was your son that was dying?

‘I would say what Job says in the Holy Book – ‘From dust we came & to dust we must return, blessed be the name of God’. Doctors can’t give life. Only God can do that. Go and pray for your son and let me do my work. The father stepped out f the way, muttering under his breath ‘It’s so easy to hand out advice when you don’t have to worry about the consequences…’

Some hours later the doctor came out of the surgery, exhausted but smiling. ‘Your son will live’, he said and left the building.

Happy but stunned, the father of the boy asked the nurse at the desk, ‘Why’s that doctor so arrogant?’ With tears running down her face, she said that man’s son died yesterday. His funeral’s today and now that your son’s safe, he’s run off to bury his boy’…

“Go gently,” said the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, “for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

Love does not discriminate nor does love judge. Without love we are lost.


~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on June 8, 2013.

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