In his message for Lent 2012, Pope Benedict XVI warned that our hearts "can be hardened by a kind of spiritual anesthesia which numbs us to the suffering of others."
Charity suffers much at the hands of the indifferent. The pope has captured a truly human description of what can happen to our sense of compassion, our ability to have empathy for another. Such a sense can become numbed, hard to rouse, insensitive to the pain of others. The seemingly never-ending stream of images of human suffering beamed to our televisions and computer screens, even to handheld devices can give us compassion-fatigue.
The pope also blames the possession of material wealth, which can lead to a false sense of self-sufficiency, along with our all too human tendency to put our own problems and concerns above all else.
Even though it may be uncomfortable to waken our compassion, let us pray for the resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to stir our hearts to be moved by the plight of others and through acts of charity to alleviate physical and spiritual poverty.