I was thinking about the word empathy the other day. It occurred to me that we acquire the ability to "feel" for people and what they are going through. Perhaps this ability comes from what we ourselves have gone through. As I think about this possible relationship it makes me think that it is best when we can actually sink down into the life we are living. I believe we do this only when we allow ourselves to become conscious of what we are experiencing even if it is scary or painful. We must allow ourselves to feel our own pain, boredom and joys. If we do this we can then intern begin to enter into what those around us are experiencing on a deeper and more meaningful level. When we do this we begin to have the deeper life one experiences when lived within the context of a potent community. It may even be possible that within these empathetic moments a miracle of healing will occur.
Do you remember the legend of St Veronica? She was the woman who took off her veil to wipe the brow of the Savior as he made is painful journey to the cross after being beaten. She saw him and entered into his pain. As she acted on her empathy with a kind gesture a miracle happened in that the image of Jesus's face was transferred onto her veil and in doing so the first icon was created. I can't help but wonder what her life path had been that made her into the woman who took off her veil the day Jesus walked passed.