gentleness and compassion

“Part of the very essence of Christianity is to be together in a concrete community, with all the real human faults that are there and the tensions that this will bring us. Spirituality, for a Christian, can never be an individualistic quest, the pursuit of God outside of community, family, and church. The God of the incarnation tells us that anyone who says that he or she loves an invisible God in heaven and is unwilling to deal with a visible neighbor on earth is a liar since no one can love God who cannot be seen if he or she cannot love a neighbor who can be seen.” –Ronald Rolheiser, in The Holy Longing.

“Having to wait and wait and wait without answers, or direction, or an easing of the emptiness, can cause such anxiety in the dark of the tomb. Eastering can’t be rushed or forced and there are no clocks or calendars telling us when resurrection is going to happen.” Joyce Rupp, in Little Pieces of Light: Darkness and Personal Growth.

“Don’t harbor hateful anger or call people names in your heart like “fool” or “worthless person” (Matt 5:22). If you’re walking around all day saying in your heart, “What an idiot he is,” you’re living out of death, not life. If that’s what you think and feel, that’s’ what you will be, death energy instead of life force. Apparently, we cannot afford even inner disconnection from love.” –Richard Rohr, in Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

Being a Christian cannot be separated from living in a community of believers. In my life, this community has manifested itself as a wonderful conglomeration of deeply spiritual persons who consistently care for others, in body, in mind, and in soul. Some of these individuals would deny that they are deeply spiritual. And yet they love deeply, with love beyond all telling. In some cases, this love leads to great suffering and profound grief.

One of my favorite prayers in the Mass is when the celebrant says,

“Coming together as God’s family,
with confidence, let us ask the Father’s forgiveness,
for he is full of gentleness and compassion.”

When I started this blog, I did so because I believed that God had given me a voice, and this gift was something I needed to share. These past few days, finding this voice has been difficult. And yet somehow I know that this voice must embrace gentleness and compassion.

I ask you to pray for those who are suffering or experiencing profound grief in their communities. Especially those in my community of believers in Downingtown.

2 thoughts on “gentleness and compassion

  1. Thank you for Joyce Rupp’s quote. It provides consolation.
    Purpose. Gift. Call. Embody. Discern.
    I believe we all have a God-given purpose. It is a given that I already have. Today, it may be lots of work, or staying home in bed with an illness, or resting after a long time of work. Living in and out of that purpose gives praise to God.
    I believe the greatest gift we have been given is Jesus. And he holds nothing back – he gives everything he has to us. Somedays I am overwhelmed by the gift. Others, I struggle to find the courage to accept the gift.
    The gift comes with a call to continue the gift in the world. There is a unique role for me to play. I need to continually discern how I am to be Christ for others today.
    It is the Spirit of the living God expressed through a cloud of witnesses – those long gone and those newly present – that helps me embody the purpose God has given me and discern my response to the call.
    May your community of faith embody its purpose, embrace the gift, and discern its call to be the living God in Downingtown. And if the vision is slow to come, wait for it.


  2. Bexz:

    I ditto your thoughts. “None of us have it all together. But together, we have it all.” Fr. John Bertolucci St. Francis University, Stuebenville, OH

    Thank you for a wonderful response to a tough week. Thanks for hel;ing us find the lesson!



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