compassionate spirituality

Without compassion there is no spiritual experience. You can participate in all possible ritual manifestations, be strict with the moral codes that exist, defend each truth of our faith with zeal and fidelity, but if we are not compassionate, we are not spiritual. I think that this is the criticism of Jesus of Nazareth to the official religion of his time. Experiencing spirituality is living humanity to the full, and if there is something too human, it is taking care of ourselves, helping each other in solidarity and being a blessing to all those who suffer and experience the worst consequences of our vulnerability.

The parable of the Good Samaritan so forcefully declares it (Luke 10, 25-37). The message is clear: no religious rule can be allowed to dehumanize us and separate us from those who need our help. The Levite and the priest of the old testament who make detours and do not approach the beaten and broken man, do so by fulfilling the code of holiness (Leviticus 11-18). They could not touch blood if they went to the temple, and if they did, they had to purify themselves before entering the cult. They prefer to comply with the code than to be the neighbor of that badly wounded. They understood that the cult is above the human.

The message is even more explosive when it is proposed that the spiritual be one rejected and despised by the official religion: A Samaritan. The one who is truly a neighbor is not the one who complies with a legal or religious code, but the one who is compassionate to those who need it. The dynamics of compassion is expressed in the verbal forms that are used to describe the action of the anonymous Samaritan in the parable, and that we could describe in:

He feels compassion: this supposes that he makes the pain of the one who is bloody his own. How much we need to learn to feel what those who don’t have a good time feel. An action that alleviates the pain of another is also a sublime moment of prayer.

Approaching: It is clear to me that the only way to make compassion possible is by smearing yourself with the other. Blind charity is not enough, giving only for the personal pleasure of giving. It is necessary to be with the other, to make them feel accompanied.

It cures it: Being compassionate implies doing everything existentially and scientifically possible in favor of the other.

He puts him on his horse: That is, he loads him, supports him, becomes a support for him. In the midst of the needs of those around us, sometimes it is necessary to make them feel like a shoulder to lean on.

He took him to an accommodation: He does not only attend to his immediate need, but is attentive to the process, which means that warm water wipes are not enough. The interest must be for integral healing.

He cares for him: Without care there is no love, and therefore there is no compassion. In the midst of each other’s vulnerability, our task is to learn to take care of it so that it doesn’t break anymore. That is the real challenge.

He takes care of his expenses: He did not mind sharing his resources, because he understands that the greatest joy is in offering and not in accumulating. One of the greatest misfortunes of our society is the desire to have and have without ever letting go.

Everything else can be beautiful and pure, but the spiritual thing is to be close to the needy and this dynamic shows how.

compassionate spirituality