Posted by: Zane Maser | June 9, 2014


Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To right the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Alexander Pope, Universal Prayer (1738), Stanza 10

As the mystical story goes, a stranger arrives in town one day. Several members of the community have random encounters with this unknown person. He seems different. His energetic presence is one of equanimity and peace. He comes across as self-possessed, self-sufficient. He travels unencumbered. His name is Joshua. The word spreads quickly about the unusual visitor.

In the story’s unfoldment, Joshua begins to have a quiet effect on the lives of more than a few people, one by one. Small incidences become significant. His ability to inspire people, individually and in group-centered ways, accelerates into impactful results. Lives start to imperceptibly shift. Hope is restored for some. Individuals open their hearts to one another, coming forward in greater authenticity. The people band together as a true community.

Even the Catholic priest, though not without fierce resistance, is forced to encounter his own hidden fears, bitterness, and outright jealousy. Yet Joshua, when accused and defamed by the priest, responds with silence and a merciful attitude. From slander cast, he offers no defense or protection. His empathic nature feels the priest’s pain, as his compassion eases the tension and off-based accusations hurled at him from the threatened clergyman. Joshua remains gracious and generous in his bestowal of understanding, support, and lack of any judgment returned. To him, no offense has occurred.

His kindly presence is felt as a beacon of nourishing Light for those whose natural inclination is to respond with the same match of love and forgiveness. Joshua unites the community by igniting their inner flame of Spirit. They rise into the highest expression of themselves, given the opportunity presented by this soft-spoken, simple man.

Mercy listens — really listens, with interest and concern —
then smiles, and reaches out her hand.
J.M. DeMatteis, Mercy (1993)


The Virgin of Mercy

Such opportunities to respond on the high side abound daily—for all of us. My hubby and I had our own poignant one recently.

At about 3:00 am, loud and weird sounds woke us up. Was an animal climbing our back gate, crossing the 2 X 4 board above it? We heard boards breaking, some even hitting the ground. What the heck? I noticed my pulse racing and my adrenaline flowing.

Chris pulled on his clothes, much to my protestations. Armed only with a flashlight, out the back door he went into the darkness. He could see a man’s hands on our fence and his head above it. Looking over the fence into the man’s face, Chris demanded, “What the hell are you doing?” “Oh, oh, I thought this was my, my friend’s house,” the invader mumbled. Was he out-of-it drunk or without all of his wits, Chris wondered.

Chris told him to leave—now! Our mysterious stranger, having down his damage, finally retreated across the street to stand behind our neighbor’s car, but did not leave. I suggested we call the police. Fortunately, they arrived pronto. The policewoman questioned the man for several minutes, attempting to get his story. Satisfied she had the necessary information, the police pair walked the man back over to our gate, where Chris was waiting.

She confirmed our suspicion that he was very drunk. Since his destructive behavior was considered a crime of “breaking and entering,” did Chris want to press charges?

“No,” Chris answered, “I’ve made plenty of ill-chosen blunders in my life.” He reasoned that a poor choice did not need to follow this young man into his future as a police “record” for one lapse of discretion. The damage is minimal and maybe this incident of forgiveness will set him on a path of greater discrimination. Besides, that man is me, and I am him, thought Chris. He recalled an incident of his own years earlier when he was plowed drunk and passed out on a highway in Giza, Egypt. Only his friend’s merciful rescue saved him!

Each act of compassionate understanding and mercy, in small and greater ways, changes lives and increases the light of the world. Every kindhearted response opens the way so that goodness and mercy follows each of us all the days of our lives (Psalms 23:6). And the world is elevated to that extent. Perhaps this is why in Islam, one of the names of Allah is the “Most Merciful” (al-Rahman), and, further, the most common name occurring in the Quran is the Compassionate (al-Rahim).1 And the Old Testament concurs (Psalms 103:8), describing the Lord as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

Think of the moments in your life when your heart of mercy resulted in spiritual dividends for those lives you touched and for you in return as an unexpected gift at an unanticipated time. Truly, life is One.

In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Portia asks Shylock to show mercy. He asks, “On what compulsion, must I?” She responds:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.


The Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin), also known as
the Bodhisattva of Compassion

Similar Offerings:

• That Could Be Me

• Compassion On the Day of Love

• Profound Goodness

• Waves of Goodness

• A Neighbor’s Need

• The World is in our Neighborhood

• “Souper” Bowl of Caring 2012

• Charity Enacted

• Be of Understanding Heart



Text © by Zane Maser, 2014. Photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. All rights by Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.

Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection

My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.

If you are interested in an astrological consultation and/or a specific question answered by a horary chart, please visit SunnyCat© Astrology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: