Step 8: How Should We Speak to One Another?

    Becoming Compassion 3

    How Should We Speak to One Another?
    August 7, 2020

    Step 8: Part One - How Should We Speak to One Another?

    Step Eight from the Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong has guided me on a journey of memories about learning to dialogue, a daily challenge. There were moments when I said to myself “I have it, I know how to dialogue”, then a surprise dialogue occurs that reminds me that the call to growth is never ending.

    Karen Armstrong’s questions on pages 141 – 142 are treasured guides in my ministry for myself and others. Usually, following an interaction with a person and/or group, taking time to reflect about it is imperative for dialogue, to enable growth and an open-minded stance. Sometimes further discussion with a person or persons may be critical, for which Karen’s reflections are a priceless guide.

    As I reflect on my history with dialogue, I share a time when I was young and attending an International Meeting of my Congregation in Rome. It was there that I was initiated into other cultures. My companions at the meeting, with kindness, awakened me to the realization that we are all different. This gift of learning about diversity enabled an openness to “make a place for the other”.

    Plato’s description of dialogue as communal meditation with the essence of compassion is imperative for us who hope for a Global World where all people can feel at home. It is also important for our call to be peace-makers. The challenge is ours to assume our crucial part in social dialogue with nonviolence, according to the example of Gandhi. Conversion is the activity of each moment as cultures struggle for their rightful place.

    St. Paul presents us with the garment of love for our responses to the needs of our times, “Love is patient, love is kind. . . . There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its truth, its hope, its power to endure.” 1Corinthians 13:4-7

    Henrita Frost, SSND

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