Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 21, 2018
Compassion, Born of Prayer
“If your compassion is born of prayer, it is born of your meeting with God who is also the God of all people.”  Wow. Father Nouwen certainly has a way of hitting his points home. And I mean, hitting me right between the eyes.
As the election and campaign rhetoric here in the United States heats up more and more, I notice the opposing parties becoming more and more nasty. I have even seen some candidates use inflammatory language toward others who have different skin color, or countries of origin, or the opposite side of the train tracks. Would Fr. Nouwen’s definitive statement (quoted above) inflame matters even further?
As I read this page, Henri Nouwen clearly states that when his readers “fully realize that the God who loves you unconditionally loves all your fellow human beings with the same love,”  then and only then does a new way of living open to any of us who have this realization.
Alas, as sinful, fallen humans, we can be terribly nasty to one another, and even get violent. The precise reasons why do not matter. It is the inner garden of love—that of intimate prayer—that Fr. Nouwen talks about. Hiding and skulking does not do any good. Unless you and I take the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with meeting God intimately in prayer, we could quite possibly miss this marvelous chance. We could completely miss this intimate relationship that God offers freely, to anyone who opens themselves to God.
This intimate conversation with a loving God, therefore, “means a simultaneous conversion to the other persons who live with you on this earth.”  Fr. Nouwen reels off a varied list, among whom are the worker, the prisoner, the farmer, the sick, the oppressor, the oppressed, the patient and the healer—in short, just about any person you might think of. In other words, ALL people. Every person. God is a God for ALL people.
I pray for all people who are divided, in terms of politics, at this election time of the year. I pray that people may rise above the division and the inflamed rhetoric, and seek the face of God. I pray that we might fully realize that God is, indeed, a God for ALL people. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.
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), 94.
 Ibid, 95.