7. Sacredness C

Thomas Merton, Trappist monk and social activist, wrote in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, “Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed.”

Compassion illuminates the sacred within us. When compassion informs our behavior, love and caring flow naturally and it is impossible to run roughshod over the sacred that lies within everything. At those times:

  • Touch cannot be inappropriately sexual or harmful;
  • Productivity cannot mistreat others or the environment;
  • Feelings and behaviors cannot be criticized or repressed;
  • Play cannot be a win-lose contest; and
  • Learning cannot be blocked.


What would it mean for you to know the depth of beauty in your heart and in the essence of every other person?

Think of times such as in those above when the sacredness of yourself and others was present, and other times when that truth was forgotten.

Send your comments and questions to:

Image: ©Carl Studna



4. Compassion RBCompassion is viscerally feeling empathy in all feeling states. (Although compassion has been commonly defined as “to suffer with,” passion comes from the Latin word that means, “to feel,” and the prefix “com” means “with.”)

In Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time, Marcus J. Borg, former Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University writes, “For Jesus, compassion was the central quality of God and the central moral quality of a life centered in God.”

But, as Parker Palmer world-renowned author and educator writes in To Know as We Are Known, “From our educated people platform we observe, analyze and assess, for that is how we have been taught to know. This means that virtues like compassion are educated away.”


What have your experiences with compassion meant in your life and why is it important?
How does Professor Borg’s statement inform and/or reform your spiritual and religious thinking?

Send your comments and questions to:

Image: All Paths Lead To The Climb by ©Rich Berrett