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Justice, Compassion, Prayer
One evening Sister Elizabeth said to me, “I have a quotation for you.” As soon as I heard it, I asked her for the book so I could copy it down and reflect on it. Here it is:
"What is the antidote to real evil? On a political level, it is justice; on a social level, it is compassion; on a personal level, it is meditation."
(Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro, “The Teaching and Practice of Reb Yerachmiel ben Yisrael,” Meditation from the Heart of Judaism: Today’s Teachers Share Their Practices, Techniques, and Faith, edited by Avram Davis)
These three levels, the personal, the social, and the political, are not separate by any means. It is through personal meditation or contemplative prayer that we learn the compassion needed for the social level. And it is only through compassion that we can ever know what justice really is on the political level.
In these troubled times, may we each enter deeply into the presence of the compassionate God. Then let us pray for national and international leaders as they debate the responses to terrorism and the threats posed by despotism, and also for those who commit acts of terrorism. May all of these as well spend the hours needed in humble prayer and meditation, so that their sense of justice will be made true by compassion.
"… love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate."
(Luke 6:35-36, NJB)
- Sister Rose Hoover, rc
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“Troubled Planet” image by Rose Hoover, rc (with fire texture adapted from NASA photos)
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