One of the things that surprised me about my faith journey is my devotion the the Blessed Virgin Mary. I've always been drawn to her, particularly her encounter with the prophet Simeon, who said that she would share in her son's passion. St. Bernard described the sword that pierced her heart as she stood at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25-27):
What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of stone and iron though they are.
Our Lady of Sorrows teaches me that to be compassionate, I have to be willing to let my heart be pierced by the suffering of others. It means I have to welcome their wounds as my own.
Spend a moment at the foot of the Cross. Imagine yourself in the scene.
You see Mary weeping for her son, and the disciple John consoling her. What emotions do you experience at the sight of this woman's suffering?
You hear Jesus' words to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." How does he sound? Is his voice weak, filled with agony? Is it somehow filled with inexplicable grace and strength? Jesus says to John, "Here is your mother."
How do Mary and John react to Jesus' words? How do you respond to what you see?
How can you imitate the comfort John showed Mary? Think of someone you love, someone you like, someone you feel neutral toward, and finally someone you dislike. How are each of these people experiencing sorrow? How can you comfort them? Say a prayer for each of them. Wish them comfort, joy, and peace.