Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

A Pure heart create for me O God – Jesus and Compassion

Let me tell you a story……

Once there was a time, according to legend, when Ireland was ruled by kings and the reigning king had no son. So he sent out his couriers to post signs on the trees in all the towns of his kingdom. The signs advised that every qualified young man should apply for an interview with the king as a possible successor to the throne. However, all such applicants must have these two qualifications: They must (1) love God and (2) love their fellow human beings.

The young man about whom this legend centres saw the signs and reflected that he indeed loved God and his fellow human beings. However, he was so poor that he had no clothes that would be presentable in the sight of the king. Nor did he have the means to buy provisions for the journey to the castle. So he begged and borrowed until at last he had enough money for the appropriate clothes and the necessary provisions. Eventually he set out for the castle, and had almost completed his journey when he came upon a poor beggar by the side of the road. The beggar sat trembling, clad only in rags. His extended arms pleaded for help. His weak voice quietly asked, “I’m hungry and I’m cold. Would you please help me?”

The young man was so moved by the need of the poor beggar that he immediately stripped off his new clothes and put on the rags of the beggar. Without a second thought he gave the beggar all his provisions. Then, somewhat uncertainly, he proceeded to the castle in the rags of the beggar and without provision for his journey home. Upon his arrival at the castle, an attendant to the king showed him in. after a long wait, he was finally admitted to the throne room of the king.

The young man bowed low before his king. When he raised his eyes he was filled with astonishment.

“You…you were the beggar by the side of the road.”

“Yes,” replied the king. “I was the beggar.”

“But you are not really a beggar. You are really the king.”

“Yes, I am really the king.”

“Why did you do this to me?” the young man asked.

“Because I had to find out if you really do love, if you really do love God and your fellow human beings. I knew that if I came to you as king, you would have been very much impressed by my crown of gold and my regal robes. You would have done anything I asked because of my kingly appearance. But that way I would never have known what is really in your heart. So I came to you as a beggar, with no claims on you except for the love in your heart. And I found out that you truly do love God and your fellow human beings. You will be my successor. You will have my kingdom.

Jesus tells us in Matthews gospel, chapter twenty-five, that,  “…the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

When I meditate upon this, I realise how far my heart is from His. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, only one thing alone is of   importance… we will all be judged on love and by love.  To have a compassionate heart is my goal.

“What does it mean to live in the world with a truly compassionate heart, a heart that remains open to all people at all times? It is very important to realize that compassion is more than sympathy or empathy. When we are asked to listen to the pains of people and empathise with their suffering, we soon reach our emotional limits. We can listen only for a short time and only to a few people. In our society we are bombarded with so much ‘news’ about human misery that our hearts easily get numbed simply because of overload. But God’s compassionate heart does not have limits. God’s heart is greater, infinitely greater, than the human heart. It is that divine heart that God wants to give to us so that we can love all people without burning out or becoming numb.

It is for this compassionate heart that we pray when we say: ‘A pure heart create for me O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit.’ (Ps.51) (Henri Nouwen. Here and Now)

Michael Daly C.J.

August 2010.  Living loved.


August 24, 2010 - Posted by | Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. Love the story.

    And as you might expect? Love any idea about the heart. That leads us to think also of Jesus and more specifically his Sacred Heart that loves us and the world.
    In a very dark place or when we are ready to throw the belief-towel-in it is more than we deserve or understand to recall that His Heart is so full of love for us that we can and should turn to him. It does not require us to say anything because his eyes are always upon us and he knows what is in our heart. Our sorrow or our joy he understands and holds us in his compassionate heart of love.
    For us he came into the world and for us and for our salvation his very heart was pierced on the cross.
    His sacred heart loves us beyond all telling and we are both destroyed and renewed therein.

    His heart is also about passion and power and the ability to show mercy especially when we forget about it and wander and stumble in the darkness of the soul. His most Sacred Heart is about the very essence, the very centre of his merciful love and we are always able to find shelter and peace therein.

    It is one of the true Christian testaments to ponder on the divine mystery of Gods mercy, upon his Most Sacred Heart and how it loves us and alters us slowly. It is the supreme act of heaven to be forever swallowed into that Sacred Heart and therein made one with our saviour.

    Lots to think about in relation to what in science biology is a pump but in art and theology is the nature of the universe itself.

    Comment by Pablo Magnifico | August 24, 2010 | Reply

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