It is a painful fact indeed to realize how poorly prepared most Christian leaders prove to be when they are invited to be spiritual leaders in the true sense. Most of them are used to thinking in terms of large-scale organizations, getting people together in churches, schools, and hospitals, and running the show as circus directors. They have become unfamiliar with, and even somewhat afraid of, the deep and significant movements of the Spirit. It is possible that the Church could be accused of having failed in its most basic task: to offer people creative ways to communicate with the source of human life.
But how can we avoid this danger? I think by no other way than to find the courage to enter into the core of our own existence and become familiar with the complexities of our own inner lives. As soon as we feel at home in our own house, discover the dark corners as well as light spots, the closed doors as well as the drafty rooms, our confusion will evaporate, our anxiety will diminish, and we will become capable of creative work.
…Through compassion it is possible to recognize that the craving for love that people feel resides also in our own hearts, that the cruelty the world knows all too well is rooted in our own impulses. Through compassion we also sense our hope for forgiveness in our friends’ eyes and our hatred in their bitter mouths. When they kill, we know that we could have done it; when they give life, we know that we can do the same. For a compassionate person nothing human is alien…
The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen