As a member of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, I am called daily "to transform society through Contemplation, Justice, and Compassion." It is a daunting call and one that I find myself wrestling with daily. I have also written about Contemplation and Compassion previously. Today I want to share brief yet powerful reflections on compassion from Richard Rohr, OFM and Judy Cannato, both amazing, authentic Spiritual guides in my life. I hope they speak to you as well!
"A compassionate presence is one of the fruits of contemplation." (Richard Rohr)
The most obvious change that results from the holding and allowing that we learn in the practice of contemplative prayer is that we will naturally become much more compassionate and patient toward just about everything.
It would be easy to end here. The last statement is the work of a lifetime. What I also want to emphasize here is that compassion includes compassion toward ourselves. Not an easy task! Richard continues …
"Spiritual leaders who lack basic human compassion have almost no power to change other people, because people intuitively know they do not represent the Whole and Holy One. What Jesus calls 'the Reign of God' we could call the Great Compassion." (Richard Rohr, Eager to Love.)
And from Judy Cannato, Field of Compassion:
"The realm of God that Jesus preached and died for was one that was known for its kindness and generosity, its compassion and healing. There was no one deemed outside the love of the Holy One whom Jesus called 'Father.' No one was excluded from fellowship."
Compassion changes everything. Compassion heals. Compassion mends the broken and restores what has been lost. Compassion draws together those who have been estranged or never even dreamed they were connected. Compassion pulls us out of ourselves and into the heart of another, placing us on holy ground where we instinctively take off our shoes and walk in reverence. Compassion springs out of vulnerability and triumphs in unity.