Golden Eagles News · Sports Leader: Virtue of the Week – EMPATHY

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This week our virtue theme is EMPATHY – the strength to understand and share the feelings of another. EMPATHY is necessary for everything in life! Great teams care about each other, great teams share, great teams have EMPATHY.


Thank you, Lord, for this day, this opportunity, this time together. Strengthen our wills and forge our ability to have EMPATHY for our family, friends and teammates. We need to care, we want to care about others and their lives. Does anyone have any prayer intentions? Who wants to lead us in a prayer?



During the mid 1950s when I was a kid, my dad worked in a furniture shop at Spadina and Queen in downtown Toronto. Sometimes, I got to go to the shop with him and I made a bit of pocket change running to the restaurant and getting coffee for everybody. I would pass the rest of the day away just hanging around the store, not doing much of anything and not paying much attention to all the hustle and bustle of people and things that were all around me.

One day, as my dad and I were driving to the shop, I looked out the passenger window of the car and I saw an old man standing at the street corner. For some reason, our eyes met and held for about twenty seconds as we went by the corner. There was nothing fearful about this man but it was a significant encounter for me. Up to that point in my life, I had given no thought to anyone I saw on the street, in stores or anywhere else. My life was my family and my friends on the block and that was it. I had no interest in anyone beyond that circle.

But I was intrigued by that old man. For the first time I had an empathy and an interest in what that person was all about. What kind of life had he lived? Where had he been in his time? How had he come to this corner just at the moment I was going by?

Over the years I had long forgotten about this old man, but he came to mind for me recently and I remembered those twenty seconds or so that I looked into the eyes of a stranger and wondered what he was all about.

It seems we are all so busy these days. There are so many details, so many calls to make and so many things to look after that we barely have time for sincere and genuine interest in others.

We are inundated by warnings from great thinkers in our society encouraging us to ‘stop and smell the roses’. But I’m afraid it has taken me decades to really appreciate the wisdom of these words.

If I ever have the opportunity to speak to a young person today, I do my best to convey this message. But unfortunately, young people are too busy to heed good advice. Much like I was so many years ago. Youth indeed is so often wasted on the young.

If I had the chance, I would tell young people to stop what they are doing and look around. I would tell them to try as hard as they could to fully understand what is right in their line of sight, what is in the range of their hearing at the moment, what is in their immediate reach and grasp.

I would like so much to tell people, especially young people, that if you are thoughtless and indifferent to others on your road in life, then you are missing life itself. Do not be intrusive or tactless, for heaven’s sake, but take a moment and ask someone, how did you come here or how did you get into this business?

No matter what that person tells you, their answer will make you richer. You can grow emotionally, you can excel as a person and you can be wealthy by every measure if you just appreciate the gifts that people and life all around you are ready to give right at this moment just by their simple presence.

We should appreciate that great symphonies were written from only seven simple notes that God gave the entire universe. We should know that great works of art are measured by the emotions they evoke, not just how they look next to the plant stand.

We should never forget that heartache cannot be cured but can be eased by someone willing to give genuine sympathy. The true greatness of joy can only be known when it is shared with others.

Recently, I attended a trade show at the convention centre in downtown Toronto. During the lunch break I went to a book sale along the trendy Queen West area. I was thinking about returning to the show or carrying on my walk when I realized I was standing at the corner of Spadina and Queen. At that moment a car went by and I caught the eye of a young boy looking at me from the passenger window. We looked at each other for about twenty seconds before the car disappeared around the corner. I wondered if that boy was thinking about what sort of person I was.

And I realized that I was now an old man. Like the man I saw so many years ago.

I wondered if 50 years had just simply flashed by or whether that boy and I had just simply changed places in the span of 20 seconds.

Before I returned to the trade show, I stopped at a florist. I bought a rose and put it in the lapel of my jacket. For some reason, I felt it was the most important thing I would do for the rest of the day.


Is there a neighbor that you often don’t take the time to notice?

Is there a relative in your family that you often don’t take the time to notice?

Are there players on this sports team that you never seem to notice or communicate with?


Take the time to notice a teammate that you normally don’t notice or communicate with today. Then after practice, take the time to compliment them or encourage them based on what you noticed about them in practice.


Ask individually as many players as you can during practice/game the below:

Who on this team/family do you feel for/understand/get along with the most?

Why do you think this is true?


Lord God, You didn’t run at the first sign of chaos or difficulty. You showed us how to be EMPATHETIC- to care about the needs of others. We want to live like You! We want to live for You and for others. Help us to have EMPATHY this week-to care about our teammates, to care about our teachers and coaches, to care about total strangers so we can be more like You.


Take the time this week to sit down when you get home after practice and talk to your mother, father, brother or sister and to ask them sincerely how their day went. Make an attempt to understand them by being interested in their lives instead of just your own.


*Each day this week communicate the quote of the day.


“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia


“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”- Walt Whitman


“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.” – Daniel H. Pink


“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.” – Abraham Lincoln


“There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, know suffering, know struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Luke 16: 19-31

“There was a rich man* who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.

And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.

When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.

Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”


Francis was destined by his father to be a lawyer so that the young man could eventually take his elder’s place as a senator from the province of Savoy in France. For this reason Francis was sent to Padua to study law. After receiving his doctorate, he returned home and, in due time, told his parents he wished to enter the priesthood. His father strongly opposed Francis in this, and only after much patient persuasiveness on the part of the gentle Francis did his father finally consent. Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a center for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success.

At 35, he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.”

Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. As he wrote in The Introduction to the Devout Life: “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to say devotion is incompatible with the life of a soldier, a tradesman, a prince, or a married woman…. It has happened that many have lost perfection in the desert who had preserved it in the world.”

In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal, in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety, and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.