FRIDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
-from Father Henri Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart
If you would ask the Desert Father why solitude gives birth to compassion, they would say, Because it makes us die to our neighbor. At first this answer seems quite disturbing to a modern mind. But when we give it a closer look we can see that 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. To die to our neighbors means to stop judging them, to stop evaluating them, and thus to become free to be compassionate. Compassion can never coexist with judgment because judgment creates the distance, the distinction, that prevents us from really being with the other.