Reading Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton and Jesus Driven Ministry by Ajith Fernando has helped me realize that the joy I have with God allows me to feel the hurt of others.
In Bridges to Contemplative Living we read, “A contemplative, no matter what is happening at the moment, can recover a courage that tastes and sees that God and life are good” (p. 34). Our relationship with God should bring us joy and happiness because we know the gift we have received by Jesus dying for our sins. In addition to being able to live forever because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we also get to experience a sense of joy and peace in life because of the relationship we develop with God. When we experience that joy and stay in touch with it, it allows us to experience the pain and hurt of others.
We live in a tough world that has corruption, heartbreak, and pain. If we live contemplatively and stay in touch with the joy we should have, then we are able to stay in touch with our feelings to feel pain for others. Fernando writes to us about this joy and feeling for others when he writes, “If we are firmly rooted in the joy and security of the Lord, we too can take on pain in this way [this way meaning the pain of others] without breaking down emotionally . . . . First we pursue the joy of the Lord; then we open ourselves to the pain of this hurting world” (p. 201).
Both of these writings reminds me that my quite time with God in the mornings helps me to be reminded of the joy I also have because of God (in what He has done for me and who He is). And when I am able to stay in touch with that joy it enables me to have feeling for others who have pain and hurt.
Question: How do you cultivate feelings for the hurt of others?