Tag Archives: caring

More on Compassion and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 28, 2018

compassion - in His steps

More on Compassion and Prayer

Father Nouwen had such insights. I’ve read a number of his book, and I am amazed at each one. Such simplicity, and such clarity of expression. The words with which he discusses the close relationship of compassion and prayer—so straight-forward. Even simple. (But NOT easy to do. Very rarely that.)

“Risks are involved. For compassion means to build a bridge to others without know whether they want to be reached.” [1] Bridge-building is definitely a trusting exercise of good faith. However, without the building of bridges, individuals would still be separated by walls and moats of their own making.

I fear that bitter feelings are often the dividers between individuals and groups. “Your brother or sister might be so embittered that he or she doesn’t expect anything from you. Then your compassion stirs up enmity, and it is difficult not to become sour yourself and say, “You see what I told you, it doesn’t work anyhow.” [2]

As I consider Father Nouwen, I cannot help but see him as someone with clarity of speech and insight. Someone who wrote many books, and touched many lives. How can someone like that not be a builder of bridges?

When we pray, we can try to build bridges. Each of us can strive to show compassion, to trust in God and in God’s love and caring. Is this easy? No, so in the least. Is this necessary? Only if we would like to be caring, compassionate individuals.

Dear Lord, help me show Your caring and love, in compassion and by building bridges. God, it doesn’t matter whether I build verbal bridges, bridges of relationship, or actual, concrete bridges to cross from one side to the other. Gracious God, bless each of us today, and encourage us to reach out in compassion. Amen.

 

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 96.

[2] Ibid.

Praying, Sharing Humanity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 13, 2018

compassion, word cloud

Praying, Sharing Humanity

Compassion. That’s what today’s section of Henri Nouwen’s book With Open Hands is all about. Amazing insight with such brevity. Father Nouwen says such sensible things, I cannot believe they never crossed my mind before. Like, “Compassion grown with the inner recognition that your neighbor shares your humanity with you.” [1]

I cannot help but compare Father Nouwen’s words here with the basic outlook and principles behind Fred Rogers’ treatment and attitude towards everyone he dealt with. It did not matter what sort of person Mister Rogers met—age, height, ability, ethnicity, status (or lack of status), or any other kind of difference or separation. Those differences did not matter to Fred Rogers. I do not think those differences or separations mattered to Father Nouwen, either.

Fr. Nouwen clearly states “Across all barriers of land and language, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, we are one, created from the same dust, subject to the same laws, and destined for the same end.” [2] I don’t know how Fr. Nouwen was able to do that, but there was an equitable, caring, open attitude he had towards everyone he encountered, just as there was with Mister Rogers. That kind, caring attitude and openness are what I strive for, God willing.

Yet, compassion—according to Fr. Nouwen—is not only a positive, warm, fuzzy kind of expression and emotion. Compassion “also means sharing in joy, which can be just as important as sharing in pain.” [3]

Yes, we are human; yes, we all have the experience of pain. Some people experience pain more often than others. Yes, I have sat with individuals who go through painful episodes in their lives regularly. I know some have inner anguish, others have physical pain. Those painful emotions and situations did not make Fr. Nouwen care for those people less. Those negative experiences caused Mister Rogers to care even more for children and adults alike.

Dear God, when I grow up, I want to be like Fred Rogers. I want to have the attitude of Henri Nouwen. Help me—help us to offer others real support and comfort from our hearts. For real, not with false faces or fake feelings. Thank You for giving us such excellent examples as Henri Nouwen and Fred Rogers.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 92.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 93.

Pouring Out My Soul to God, and Psalm 42

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 23, 2017

Psa 42-3 tears, my food

Pouring Out My Soul to God, and Psalm 42

What do you do when you are all alone? Alone, and heartsick, lonely and soulsick. As Bonhoeffer said when thinking about this psalm, he was all alone. Feeling alone can turn a person inside out with sadness. So, Bonhoeffer poured out his soul to the Lord. And, the Lord came to his aid.

Since he was feeling to lonely and alone, he said “the greater will be my longing for the fellowship of other Christians, for common worship, common prayer and song, praise, thanksgiving and celebration.” [1]

While I appreciate Bonhoeffer’s next suggestion, I don’t go along with it…totally. He stresses that his readers ought not to allow heaviness and disquiet to overwhelm the soul. But, sometimes depression overwhelms a person. People sometimes juggle things like anxiety, loneliness, worry and concern.

I know Jesus tells us some things about how to deal with many negative emotional feelings and psychological tendencies. However—sometimes, life gets too heavy, too overwhelming. We might need a little help from our community. We can use some common understanding and caring. God, not only from our families, our friends, and our communities of faith, but from You. I know I depend on You, dear Lord.

Still, from time to time, I do feel all alone. God, please ground me on You and Your help, Your word, and Your promises. Thank You for listening, dear God.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 57.

Worship with Evelyn Underhill

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 20, 2017

worship cursive

Worship with Evelyn Underhill

When I read about Evelyn Underhill, I get overwhelmed. I feel very small, indeed. She was such a talented academic, knowledgeable in the nature and forms of Christian worship. But, even more so, she had great understanding in the practical-theology end of worship and spiritual formation. (I can’t even begin to compare myself to her…)

Miss Underhill wrote classic texts on worship and mysticism. The provided excerpts on several aspects of worship are soul-stirring, indeed.

“…we are called to worship because this is the only safe, humble and creaturely way in which men can be led to acknowledge and receive the influence of an objective Reality.” [1] This deep action of the soul, as she calls it, has been found to be a reality in many people’s lives, worldwide. The impetus to worship transcends racial lines, cultural differences, differing climates and places of gathering.

“Worship, then, is an avenue which leads the creature out from his inveterate self-occupation to a knowledge of God, and ultimately to that union with God which is the beatitude of the soul.” [2] If I read Ms. Underhill’s writing correctly, she says that worship is a means of getting me out of my own head and focused away from self-occupation. I need to have something outward to direct my attention and understanding towards… If I can stop focusing on me, myself and I, that can only be beneficial.

The second part of the above statement: “that union with God which is the beatitude of the soul.” How high and lofty a statement this is. When I think of worship, I do not often concentrate on such ineffable thoughts. True. (Guilty as charged.) However, just because I rarely think of such thoughts does not make them false. Ah, “the beatitude of the soul.” I just taught a bible study sequence on the Beatitudes, so I do understand them a bit better than I did before. I understand this quote a bit better, too.

Miss Underhill, I wish I could get closer to the true heart of worship. Thank You for Your great writing and example. Dear God, gracious God, thank You for loving us far more than we deserve and caring for us even when we run away.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] [1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 254.

[2] Ibid.

In Which We Pray for School Children

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 22, 2016

schoolgirl drawing

In Which We Pray for School Children

Labor Day is almost here. Autumn quickly approaches. Children and young people are returning to school, including my child. (Returning to college, that is. Tomorrow.)

The return to school can have great emotional impact on parents or children. (Although sometimes, not so much.)

At my church last week, we prayed for the children and grandchildren of the congregation as they started school. So much preparation goes into that process. The purchase of school supplies, school clothes and shoes, calculators, sports equipment, books. All kinds of preparation.

Parents, grandparents, congregation members, other caring and concerned adults—all of us can help children and young people as they return to school, too. We can pray for them.

Pray for these students to have excitement and encouragement. Pray for focus and discipline. Pray for learning and fun, for yearning and discovery. Pray that all students may continue to strive, to play, to enjoy, and to learn.

Pray for the families the students come from. (Both for the wonderful families as well as the difficult places and hurtful experiences the students may deal with.) Pray for teachers, coaches, tutors, aides, and all those who nurture and care for the students each and every day. Pray for them to have patience and persistence, caring and compassion. Pray for all who work with these children and young people, so that all may be safe and secure.

Dear God, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Compassion (Repost)

This repost gives a meaningful expression of a senior’s personal definition of PEACE.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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PEACE is Compassion

Today’s definition touched my heart.

I read some news online today. I read about a man who robbed a store several miles from my house. I read about a suicide pact carried out by two young people. I read about a hospital blown to bits by a bomb. I read about a family torn apart by a bitter divorce.

I wonder whether compassion might have made a difference in any of these situations.

This word is the definition given to me today by Lill Hutchins: PEACE is compassion.

Lill is the president of the congregation at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove. She is a thoughtful, caring person. And, she took her time and thought about her personal definition for PEACE for quite a while. Really considered it.

She said to me, “If everyone in the whole world had compassion, there would be peace. People can’t shoot guns with compassion.”

Oh, yes. If individuals had compassion—if they truly felt with the people around them (which is where the word compassion comes from, from Latin com– or with, and pati, to bear or suffer), the world would be a very different place.

It matters less about differences between people when they concentrate on the challenges and difficulties each one must bear. Com-passion. Bear with. It’s hard to be mad at someone you are helping or praying for. If I know that my mean neighbor has a sick child, it’s difficult to be nasty to them. When I realize that nasty village employee has an elderly relative who is terminally ill, it’s hard to think mean thoughts in retaliation. Com-passion. Suffer with.

Something to consider. So, help me, God!

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for today’s definition. Help me to bear with those around me. Urge me to consider those around me with compassion. Help us all to keep quiet and listen to others, hear their stories. And have compassion. Thank You, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Community

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, February 14, 2016

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PEACE is Community

As I ask people for their personal definition of PEACE, I am intrigued by the ones who have to think hard about the decision. Sometimes, taking a good deal of time for the answer. And, I am equally impressed by the ones who immediately know what their definition is going to be.

Today’s definition falls into the latter category. The name of the person I talked to? Karen Hohl. Her personal definition of peace: PEACE is Community.

Fascinating definition! I never, ever thought of that word before. A breath of fresh air.

When I asked Karen for a sentence or two of explanation about her choice of definition, She was quick on the draw with the following words and thoughts. “When I think of Peace I think of community. [To me] means sharing with others, caring about others, understanding and respecting our individuality and uniqueness, similarities and differences. All are essential to building and nurturing a healthy peace as comm-unity.”

Such a wonderful way to think of community. According to Karen, sharing, caring, understanding and respecting are all hallmarks of a peace-filled community. Another way of saying it, I think, is a community that actively strives for peace.

Karen is one of the conveners of the Des Plaines Ministerial Alliance, and an instrumental part of the DPMA. I have heard—a number of times—that Karen is a marvel at lifting up the work and ministries of the different houses of worship and nonprofit organizations that make up the DPMA. She is a minister at large at the moment, and is looking for a good fit for employment. Her skills for detail and office management, and gifts of compassion, encouragement, love, and organization make her a marvelous addition to any ministry or nonprofit organization.

We can pray that Karen finds a community that appreciates her many skills and gifts. Dear Lord, thank You for Karen and her love for the community, both local and more wide-reaching. Please support and encourage her heart as she continues to look for a good fit, in terms of employment. God, bless her richly today. Amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er