Day 31 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 31

I cannot treat other men as men unless I have compassion for them. I must have at least enough compassion to realize that when they suffer they feel somewhat as I do when I suffer. And if for some reason I do not spontaneously feel this kind of sympathy for others, then it is God’s will that I do what I can to learn how. I must learn to share with others their joys, their sufferings, their ideas, their needs, their desires. I must learn to do this not only in the cases of those who are of the same class, the same profession, the same race, the same nation as myself, but when men who suffer belong to other groups, even to groups that are regarded as hostile. If I do this, I obey God. If I refuse to do it, I disobey Him.

— Thomas Merton in New Seeds in Thomas Merton: Essential Writings, selected with an introduction by Christine M Bochen

Today: Saint Francis of Assisi prayed, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Consider your conflicted relationships. How might compassion become the bridge to peace between you and them? How might a shift in focus away from self and toward others be a means by which you experience compassion?

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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One Response to Day 31 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

  1. Barbara says:

    I’m not sure that compassion is a real problem for me to experience. In my personal relationships with some family members there is a tendency to keep a distance for protection. In my compassion for these relationships I became….very hurt. Physically and emotionally. If I show my compassion “too much” it would disastrous again, and so I keep my distance.

    There is compassion and then there is wariness to give it. Don’t know if this makes sense or not…. I wish compassion was a bridge that could fix all relationships. 🙁

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