"Compassion not only helps us co-operate with the movement of Christ's love, it also fulfils us by increasing our capacity to relate to others without which there is no maturity ... The spark in the soul draws a person deeper into the love of the Creator and of the world in a process of mutual enabling. It is impossible to love others in this way while nourishing prejudice, fear and grievances." Compassion invites us to times of silence and to radical trust ... "God, I trust in your sustaining love and believe that just as You give me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it."

Insight and fresh vision

Insight and fresh vision inevitably depend on our ability to free ourselves from the prejudices and stereotypes that we have inherited, along with everyone else. Merton believed that silence and solitude could play a crucial role in this respect. For example, once, in the middle of the shopping district, he had what for want of better words we must call a mystical experience. There "at the corner of Fourth and Walnut" he was "suddenly overwhelmed with realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness." In that ordinary, everyday, unremarkable setting he suddenly saw and felt God's love for each person, and the deep solidarity that exists between each member of the human race despite their illusions of separateness.