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Monday, January 21, 2013


In reading Ilia Delio's "Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis", I was struck by the number of ways she defines or describes compassion. I thought you might like to reflect on a few with me:

"Compassion is the shared experience of creaturely life. It unites what is divided and binds together what is otherwise opposed."

Compassion grows out of seeds of love within the human heart. It is born from the deepest center within and unites our deepest selves.

The word compassion has a sense of empathy or sympathy; the word in Tebetqn literally means "noble heart." 

Compassion is the ability to "get inside the skin of another" in order to respond with loving concern and care. It is deep connectedness to another; one breathes in the pain of the other and breathes out compassion.

The compassionate person identifies with the suffering of others in such a way that she or he makes a space within the heart to allow the suffering of another to enter, not to heal them or remove their pain but to be with them in solidarity."

All of these quotes are to be found on p. 47 at the beginning of Chapter Five: Seeds of Compassion. I have marked many more (when I read Delio, I always need a second reading to really mark up my book and I have learned to pause between most of her sentences to think so as to be ready to grasp her next thought.)

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