Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 28, 2018
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.”  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.” 
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.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 96.