Around the world there are hundreds of languages: Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Swahili, and more. There are also the languages of ideas, science, medicine, philosophy, psychology, just to name a few. Where I live, in our motherhouse, our version of English is from Boston, China, New Orleans, Zambia, Brooklyn, Kentucky, Zimbabwe, Ohio, Philadelphia, and more. On top of all these we could add nonverbal facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. When I look at all this hodgepodge of how we speak, I find myself astounded that any effective communication occurs at all.
There is, thank God, a language that is universal. Some call it the language of love, others call it compassion. It is the language that makes it possible for us to connect with another human being on a deep and meaningful level, no matter the language we speak. Love is where the heart and mind of two people touch and each are transformed by a shared moment. Compassion is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, listening to their story without judgement or criticism.
Recently, compassion was spoken by the two women from different countries who fell in their race during the Olympics. They helped each other up and encouraged each other to finish the race. We saw it when strangers in Baton Rouge, LA risked their own lives to rescue a woman and her dog from a car that was going under the flood waters and when those who had boats went about taking others to safety. These acts of caring, compassion, and love that a news camera happened to catch, they touched me. Because of it I experienced the goodness in others and I felt encouraged by their bravery and compassion.
Learning the language of love is much like learning any language. We listen to those who speak it. We practice speaking the language with those around us and we help each other get the pronunciation right. The more often we use it the more universal it becomes.
I know the challenge for me is to come from the place deep within where I recognize the many acts of loving and caring that surround me daily. When I take this in it has the power to soften my sharp edges and make me gentler, less judgmental, and a lot more loving and compassionate to those around me and those far off who suffer around the world.
Loving God, help me and all humanity to learn the language of love that we will live it and speak it clearly each day. Amen.