Tag Archives: Desert Fathers

Judgment, No. Compassion, Yes.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 6, 2015

BK kindness is an attitude

Judgment, No. Compassion, Yes.

Today’s reading seems—at first glance—to be somewhat disturbing. Why on earth would I want to die to my neighbor? Great question!

Fr. Nouwen explains that the Desert Fathers say that solitude gives birth to compassion because “it makes us die to our neighbor.” [1] In other words, “in order to be of service to others we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others.” [2]

This is so profound. Compassion comes through service. And, service is necessarily self-less. Thinking of self less and less, and concentrating on the other more and more. I have a great desire to give service to others. To help, and to be kind to others. I tried to do this, intentionally, each day in the year 2014. (And, I blogged about it, at A Year of Being Kind )

Another way of viewing this is when I judge others and cold-heartedly evaluate and look down on others, I am thinking of myself (and my Self) more and more. If I really want to be with others, to be a companion and a friend to them, I need to hang out with others on a regular basis, and not isolate. Not be all alone.

I really appreciate the Advent Action for today: “A follower of St. Anthony, Abba Moses, gives this instruction: ‘Do not let dislike dominate your heart.’ Make a short list of those whom you dislike, even surreptitiously. Choose one person to expunge from your negative thoughts.”

This is excellent advice. Since I am familiar with the Twelve Steps of Recovery, this action goes hand in glove with a large part of the Recovery program. Dislike is close cousin to resentment. It’s always hurtful and harmful to maintain a resentment and a dislike.

Dear God, help me lose my resentments and dislikes. Please. Help me be more loving, giving and serving to others. So, help me, God.


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

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 16.

[2] Ibid.