Each and every day, we as Catholics are called on by God to be compassionate – and this is true for all things. From our interactions with the people around us to our most significant life passions, compassion is very much central to the Christian identity.
As we know from the Word of God, a major theme in Christ’s treatment of sinners is the element of empathy. In modern Christianity, however, the call to practice good faith and empathy is often obscured by the many problems we face together as a society.
As Catholics, understanding and relating to the people around us is essential to growing in our faith and becoming closer to God. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of practicing empathy as a Catholic as well as seven ways that you can begin practicing good faith and empathy in the new year.
The Importance of Empathy in the Christian Faith
Authentic empathy has nothing to do with imposing one’s own standards of behavior on others. In fact, as Catholics, we believe in the importance of intentionally cultivating an awareness of another person’s reality in order to gain a more genuine understanding of their feelings, thoughts, and perspectives.
When we do this, we position ourselves to respond to difficult or confusing situations with a spirit of gentleness. We can derive this element of compassion from our conscious decision to walk alongside others in their struggles and show them empathy for their true humanity.
Accepting another’s difficulties and seeing their whole humanity is what empathy is all about. Empathy – not condemnation or retaliation – is an essential aspect of the church and our faith, and in order to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, it’s important for us to practice empathy in every interaction we have with others and the world around us.
How to Practice Empathy in the New Year
Here are a few simple tips for practicing empathy and compassion:
● When speaking with others, enlist all of your facilities and actively listen to them
● Consider all the ways you can connect with other people, whether physically, verbally, or emotionally
● Pray for the ability to discern between right and wrong, good and bad, and the gray areas in between
Growing Closer to God Through Faith and Empathy
When we practice empathy and good faith, we live our lives as Jesus would – and when we do this, we become better people. In the new year, strive to practice good faith and empathy with every interaction. Doing so will fulfill you and encourage you to keep moving through 2022 with the openness necessary to receive God’s guidance and love.