Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Empathy and Solidarity
In View from the Ark in the Catholic Times, the columnist recalls a phrase he heard on Religious mercy that remained with him. Empathy is internal mercy; solidarity is external mercy. Briefly, religion in our present world needs to have both empathy and solidarity.
This is just another name for love: Pope Francis' understanding of mercy. "There is no neutrality in the presence of pain", empathy and solidarity are one. We can't conceal the truth: when life is getting tedious and boring we face weakness and need to nurture empathy and solidarity.
Consequently, this is why we need cooperation and teamwork. We are all in the same world but not all is fair and just; the reason we need empathy and solidarity.
To achieve this we need the power of persuasion. Especially when plans face pressure, explanations and persuasion are required. Communication and mutual understanding require empathy and solidarity. How do we realize this empathy and solidarity? It doesn't come easy.This is why we need to walk in the other's shoes for a while. When we reflect on our humanity we gather strength but when empathy is missing we feel an emptiness.
In the actions of Jesus, we have empathy and solidarity. His empathy was mercy. Helpful it is to remind ourselves of Jesus' washing the feet of the disciples. A society with which I can't empathize is a dead society. When we see another in difficult straits and show no concern we are part of the problem.
Those who enter the convent or monastery are not fleeing the world but want to communicate with the world. Christianity is a way of empathizing and showing solidarity with the world and empathizing with the will of Jesus and working in solidarity with this will.
We are all searching for happiness but this is not what appears to be the case in society. Our lifestyle is a problem but the urging of society is not of little consequence. Consequently, we see victimization and anger in society. To put up with the sadness of life is virtuous but not always so. There are times when passivity is cowardliness. To refuse to be involved is wrong. Henry David Thoreau in his book Civil Disobedience said: "It is better to respect justice than to respect the law." It is not easy to be empathetic, and solidarity is even harder. If we would feel the urgency of this in our lives things would be different.