Compassion is not a social facade

Compassion is not a social facade. Compassion is not a sham designed to mask our essential self–centeredness. Compassion is the emotion that links us to those outside ourselves. It is the capacity for outreach. It enables us, it drives us, to go beyond ourselves to the beating pulse of the rest of the world. Compassion, then, is a dimension of what it means to be fully human.

~ Joan Chittister

Harnessing the energies of love

Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. Then, for a second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.

~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (from Kathleen Roy)

February 2013 (Vol. XXVI, No. 2)

Warm, loving greetings, dear friends! Even as I type this greeting, the ever-present question arises: What is love? Can we really define it? Is it necessary, or even desirable, that we do so? It isn't really possible, is it? Love is something we can feel or aspire to be, but it doesn't lend itself easily to the kind of definitions our reason-driven culture seems to demand. While it isn't possible to define love, I am drawn to Carl Jung's juxtaposition of love and power: "Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other." Perhaps it would be fruitful to take this idea into our Silence and listen for a deeper understanding that might be revealed.

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The great dance of love

The whole cosmos is a Self-giving of God. And we will find our place in the great dance only to the extent that we love.

~ from CHRIST OF THE CELTS by J. Philip Newell

More important now for me to love them

I had found a kind of serenity, a new maturity . . . I didn't feel better or stronger than anyone else but it seemed no longer important whether everyone loved me or not—more important now was for me to love them. Feeling that way turns your whole life around; living becomes the act of giving.

~ Beverly Sills, American Opera Singer, thanks to Liz Stewart

Love gives naught but itself

Love gives naught but itself and takes
naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love . . .
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

~ from THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran

Before and after love

There is the same difference in a person before and after he or she is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and it was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too and that is its real function.


Real love is always difficult

Real love is always difficult, as the German poet Rilke said, because "it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become a world, to become a world in himself for the sake of another, it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances." Eventually, love forces us to turn within. In the Symposium, his meditation on love, Plato called love a child of fullness and emptiness, suggesting that there is a kind of desolation built into every love. There comes a moment in the progress of most loves when lovers feel isolated and unfulfilled, because they have discovered that they cannot find real and enduring meaning by reaching outside themselves, clinging to their lover. . . They may see that it is only by daring to open to the silence at the center of themselves that they can begin to feel the presence of the One whom they have been searching for all along.


Love, like a flame

Love, like a flame, cannot fail to give out light.

~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

Love seeketh not itself to please

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

~ William Blake
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