Week Three: The Roots of Compassion
According to Henrí Nouwen, judgment prevents us from ministering to others, while compassion makes all ministry possible. Compassion comes from the practice of solitude where God can ministry to us with mercy.
Once we have experienced God’s compassion and mercy for us, we’ll be able to share the same with others. Here are Nouwen’s thoughts on solitude from his book, The Way of the Heart:
“Compassion is the fruit of solitude and the basis of all ministry.”
“We have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others. To die to our neighbors means to stop judging them, to stop evaluating them, and thus to become free to be compassionate.”
“Solitude molds self-righteous people into gentle, caring, forgiving persons who are so deeply convinced of their own great sinfulness and so fully aware of God’s even greater mercy that their life itself becomes ministry.”
“When we are filled with God’s merciful presence, we can do nothing other than minister because our whole being witnesses to the light that has come into the darkness.”
Read more in The Way of the Heart.