JESUS OFFERS a spiritual path that cultivates [radical] compassion. Many times compassion comes easily and naturally, like a child seeing a wounded bird and spontaneously tending to its broken wing. When whole and vital, our hearts automatically beat with care and connection. Often, however, much less sympathetic impulses drive our lives. The pulse of our spirit accelerates with drivenness or hyper-reactivity, it shuts down and dulls with numbness or fatigue, and it beats erratically in cycles of rage and withdrawal or compulsion and shame. Sometimes, compassion requires cultivation – the pulse of our lives feels off, it beats out of sync with the pulse of God’s love, and it requires restoration to the tender heartbeat of care.
At such times, the spiritual path of Jesus offers us a way to realign ourselves with God, to restore the pulse of our spirit, and to resuscitate and sustain our God-given capacities to embody care in the world. This spiritual path contains four rhythmic movements that transform the depleted or hardened heart to beat once more in harmony with the loving heartbeat of God. This fourfold rhythm entails deepening our connection with the expansive compassion of God, cultivating a self-compassion that recalibrates our erratic pulse to the steady pulse of our restored humanity, cultivating a compassion for the suffering that afflicts someone’s humanity, and responding with concrete acts of embodied care and connection.
– Frank Rogers Jr
Compassion in Practice
From pages 34-35 of Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus by Frank Rogers Jr. Copyright © 2016 by Frank Rogers Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
When has your faith led you to compassion? Share your thoughts.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15, NRSV
This Week: pray for the victims of violence. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
Did You Know?
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This week we remember: Rita of Cascia (May 22).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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