Everything depends on which one we feed each day.” (Rick Hanson, Buddha’s Brain). ..all humans have the propensity for love or hate. .“ they live and tumble together in every heart, like wolf cubs tussling in a cave.. There is no killing the wolf of hate; the aversion in such an attempt would actually create what you’re trying to destroy. But you can watch the wolf carefully, keep it tethered, and limit it’s alarm, righteousness, grievances, resentments, contempt and prejudice. Meanwhile, keep nourishing and encouraging the wolf of love.”
Relationships nurture compassion and help it to thrive..When we have no connection or relationship with people who are different from ourselves,it is much easier to lack concern for what happens to them.. Empathy develops when we know another’s personal history.
Compassionate presence thrives on trusted relationships. Using the to identify groups of people keeps them at a distance and negates a relationship with them. Naming people as the poor, the diabetic in Room 214, the alcoholic, or the homeless snips off the thread of connection. People become objectified rather than personalized. When we do not have a connection with a person or group, it becomes much easier to demonize or scapegoat them for the ills of society.
The actions given in the parable of Mathew 25..point to what St John of the Cross indicated as the most vital question at the end of our life: “ Have you loved well? Was everything that was done,done for love’s sake?”.. “ Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,you did it to me”( Mt 25:40). When our compassionate deeds resemble those of the parable, we reveal the face of the Holy One. We make visible the hiddenness of Christ with our actions when they come from the storehouse of our love..
Reflection: How do you experience the wolf of love and the wolf of hate in yourself? Imagine that Jesus stands by your side as you speak to each of the wolves about your life. How have you lived this week? What are some ways that you “love well” through one or more of the Works of Compassion?