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Compassion

29 Jun

 

Image: The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix) by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Compassion

God-in-Me Loving God

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last year I had the honor of representing the Christian tradition at the Festival of Faiths in Louisville, Kentucky. Leaders of many faiths, including the Dalai Lama, came together to talk about the role of compassion in our spiritual practice. The following is what I shared from the Christian perspective:

The Christian who has gone to his or her own depths—not all of us, I am afraid—uncovers an Indwelling Presence, what might even be experienced as an I-Thou relationship (to use the language of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber). In Christian theology this would be described as the “Holy Spirit,” which is precisely God as immanent, within, and even our deepest self. Some saints and mystics have described this Presence as “closer to me than I am to myself” or “more me than I am myself.” Many of us would also describe this as the True Self. It must be awakened; it is never “created” by our actions or behavior, but naturally “indwelling,” or our inner being with God.

Much of culture and religion encourages us to cultivate our False Self or reputation, self-image, roles, and possessions. It is only as this fails us, and it eventually does, that the True Self stands revealed and ready to guide us. The True Self does not teach us compassion as much as it IS compassion already, and from this more spacious and grounded Self we can naturally connect, empathize, forgive, and love all reality. In Christian language this is “God-in-me-loving-God.”

The False Self does not know how to love in a very deep or broad way. It is too small and self-referential to be compassionate. The True Self also does not choose to love as much as it IS love itself already. Loving from this spacious place is experienced as a river within you that flows of its own accord, as Jesus promises us so beautifully (John 7:38).

Adapted from Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation, pp. 46‑48

Gateway to Silence:
May I see with eyes of compassion.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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2 responses to “Compassion

  1. Paula Moldenhauer

    July 1, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    This is beautiful. The last year or two I’ve been working on memorizing John 14, which talks a lot about how the Father is in the son who is in us and in the Father. I’ve sometimes connected to this deep place where I am not sure if I discern myself or HIM, and then I wonder if there is a beautiful place where we are so intertwined by the Spirit that I can’t see where the Oneness begins and ends, when I am more truly me than I am the majority of the time.

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    • Little Monk

      July 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      What a beautiful comment, Paula. I believe, as best I can wrap words around this thought, that in those moments you speak of… you actually dwell in the True Self. That is the Self as created in and by Him, without the distractions and illusions of “the air” about us. I know this “place” you speak of. I have a friend who calls it “The Silence of God”. It is a wondrous and timeless place I encourage all to seek, find, and rest in… for we never return unchanged. This, I suspect, is the place of greatest transformation, for we are the most transparent in and before Him here.

      Grace — LM

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