Augustine of Hippo: Compassionate is a Verb

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That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3

“The souls that thirst after Thee, and that appear before Thee, Thou waterest by a sweet spring, that the earth may bring forth her fruit, and Thou, Lord God, so commanding, our soul may bud forth works of mercy according to their kind, loving our neighbor in the relief of his bodily necessities, having seed in itself according to its likeness, when from feeling of our infirmity, we compassionate so as to relieve the needy; helping them, as we would be helped; if we were in like need; not only in things easy, as in herb yielding seed, but also in the protection of our assistance, with our best strength, like the tree yielding fruit: that is, well-doing in rescuing him that suffers wrong, from the hand of the powerful, and giving him the shelter of protection, by the mighty strength of just judgment.”

Augustine of Hippo in The Confessions of St. Augustine, 8.17.

Yesterday I failed to mention that Linda Maris is collaborating with Jenni and me on the 30 day devotional, Flourish, which will be produced by NCF Wisconsin. The book is slated to release in June 2020. Again, I exploring compassion with an eye for texts that reflect flourishing.

Compassionate is a verb. “We compassionate so as to relieve the needy…”

Ed Spencer, a Daily Meditations reader, added this comment yesterday. He said rightly, “Sympathy is to feel; empathy is to attach personal meaning to the feeling; compassion is to become engaged personally in doing something with the feeling.”

What if we revived the idea that compassionate is a verb? What if each of us became engaged personally in doing something for the needy?

Notice, like David the psalmist, Augustine likens the giving of our “best strength” to showing compassion as a tree yielding fruit. It’s what Jesus re-made us to do.

Father, show us what it means to compassionate our neighbor. Jesus, give us eyes to see the needy. Holy Spirit, empower us to serve them.

Speaking of service, the CEO retreat in Goa is going great. I am one of four facilitators for the group of young CEO’s of ministries in India. Also, enjoy the new header photo too, a shot of the Arabian Sea from Goa, on the west coast of India. I shot it between sessions yesterday.