At the sight of them, his heart broke open [with compassion]…
—Mark 6: 34
As the tragic events of yesterday begin to settle into your heart, take a moment to ponder what yesterday must have been like for all the families of the service men and women who are currently stationed in Kabul. Use the gift of your imagination to put yourself in their shoes. Get a sense of their worry, anxiety and fear. Then allow yourself to touch the hem of their grief and loss. Once you have a sense of that, do the same for the remaining service people who are going back to work today to ensure the safe passage of innocent women, children and men. Try to imagine what they might be experiencing as the take up their posts – perhaps fear, anxiety, anger, sadness.
When you have a sense of what they might be going through, turn your attention to the Afghan people who are trying to escape their worst nightmare, who fear for their lives and those of their children, who desire what we often take for granted – safety, security, a hopeful future. Try to imagine the experience of being bombed, your ears ringing from the explosion, seeing bodies torn apart by the blast, and then hearing people crying out for help, crying out in pain. Try to imagine the experience of not being able to find family or friends in the chaos afterwards.
Now comes the hard part, allow what you have imagined, all the feelings to enter your own heart and embrace them as your own (as much as that is possible). Allow your imaginings to break open your heart with compassion, then hold all of them – the service women and men, their families and the Afghans – in your heart filled with compassion. Pray for them as you will with the trust that God’s own heart is also broken open with compassion.
Finally, remember Jesus’ command to “love your enemies and pray for those who do you harm.” Pray too for the Isis-K, the Taliban and other terrorists who want to do us and others harm.
Now, breathe, release it all to God and rest in the heart-knowledge that the Lover of us all holds you, and all those you pray for, in infinite love, compassion and mercy.
—By Ginny Schaeffer, director of the Angela Merici Center for Spirituality
All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
—St. Julian of Norwich