This thought comes from the following passage written by an author I trust and admire, Anthony Bloom (1914 – 2003), a monk and the Metropolitan bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. As a bishop he became well known as a pastor, preacher, spiritual director and writer on prayer and the Christian life.
“In a world of competition,
in a world of predatory animals,
in a world of cruelty and heartlessness,
the only hope one can have is an act of mercy,
an act of compassion,
a completely unexpected act
which is rooted neither in duty nor in natural relationships,
which will suspend the action of the cruel, violent,
heartless world in which we live.”
(Anthony Bloom, Beginning to Pray)
These words both trouble and comfort me. They trouble me because of the unvarnished, painful truth with which they speak of our “predatory” world. They comfort me because in the midst of all the undeniable pain and cruelty there are countless acts of mercy being proffered every day by unknown, unsung, humble heroes of kindness, an army of the divine if you will, instruments of a generous and merciful God. At least, that’s how I see it. I want to be one of that army, an instrument of hope in the world, if I can.