Advent Meditation: Widening Our Circle Of Compassion …

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.
— Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart

Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.
— Mother Teresa from In the Heart of the World

The Delusion of Separateness

… all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
— Martin Luther King, Jr from A Testament of Hope – The American Dream

Embracing All of Creation

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.
— Albert Einstein from The Ultimate Quotable Einstein

Crossing the Road for One Another

We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for one another. There is so much separation and segregation: between black people and white people, between gay people and straight people, between young people and old people, between sick people and healthy people, between prisoners and free people, between Jews and Gentiles, Muslims and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, Greek Catholics and Latin Catholics.

There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the street once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might become neighbours.
— Henri J.M. Nouwen from Bread for the Journey

The Heart of Compassion

Compassionate God,
your generous presence
is always attuned to hurting ones.
Your listening ear is bent
toward the cries of the wounded
Your heart of love
fills with tears for the suffering.

Turn my inward eye to see
that I am not alone.
I am a part of all of life.
Each one’s joy and sorrow
is my joy and sorrow,
and mine is theirs.
May I draw strength
from this inner communion.
May it daily recommit me
to be a compassionate presence
for all who struggle with life’s pain.
— Joyce Rupp from Your Sorrow is My Sorrow

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