By Sister Janet McCann, ASC

“My baby brother is a real heartbreaker!”

Beau, a 4-year old buddy of mine, told me this, referring to his newborn brother who had been crying for a while. When I asked him what he meant, Beau sighed and said, “Whenever my baby brother cries, it breaks my heart.”

I doubt that I conveyed that level of compassion when I was Beau’s age, but as an Adorer, I join with my sisters of the U.S. Region in trying to intentionally live our statement to “be a compassionate presence wherever need touches our hearts.”

Heartbreak is rampant these days, and as the cries of the sick, the poor and the dying echo in our hearts, it can be challenging to keep the coffers of hope well-stocked for ourselves and for others.

A contemplative practice that sometimes helps me, particularly when hope begins to wane, is to visualize my heart while reflecting on another’s cry of anguish. I see my heart breaking open, making room for those who suffer to enter inside. While the temptation can be to turn away, God’s grace allows me to remain present to them and with them in stillness. In time, the energy of compassion rises up, urging me to speak to God for healing and hope on their behalf.

I have noticed that my heart opens more readily, and ever wider, each time I allow myself to be touched by the cries of another. I believe it is the power of compassion that will transform our hearts and our world.

I can only imagine what impact the capacity of Beau’s heart will have in just a few years, when already at the age of four, his compassion leads me to hope.