Thanks to everyone who contributed to our first of what I’m hoping becomes a weekly blog. Not everyone agreed with the post or the information on the “About us” page. I’m hoping you’ll agree with me though, and see this as a good sign. I believe we can agree to continue our community life even if we disagree on such fundamental questions such as who we are.
In this post I would like to continue the conversation by defending:
“The only requirement for membership is a continued commitment to becoming a more compassionate person through ongoing prayer, study and meditation on and identification with the Passion of the Jesus of history as well as with the poor, oppressed and suffering in our world today”
Why would we as partners want to adopt such an inclusive identity? First and foremost, I believe this statement does address the basic charism of the Passionists, i.e. identification with the Passion of Jesus… It goes further in admission that Passionists aren’t the only people in the world who believe in compassion. In fact as Karen Armstrong in her book “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life” says:
“All faiths insist that compassion is the test of true spirituality and that it brings us into relation with the transcendence we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. Each has formulated its own version of what is sometimes called the Golden Rule, ‘Do not treat others as you would not like them to treat you’…Further, they all insist that you cannot confine your benevolence to your own group; you must have concern for everybody–even your enemies.” (Armstrong, 2011)
Making compassion basic to our association or partnership focuses us, professed, lay and all new potential partners on what we do. Further, it relates us to all people of faith, at least if we’re to believe Karen Armstrong.
The advantage of this relationship is growth, both for ourselves and for the world. We will grow spiritually by acts of compassion. Our partnership will grow exponentially in numbers because we stress how we are alike, rather than how we are different. In a world that likes to accent differences, we will stand out loud and clear proclaiming what we have in common with all people of faith. That might be considered revolutionary, not too different though, and maybe even the same as Jesus preached in his supreme act of compassion, the Cross.