“I’ve been thinking about the mantra Kyrie eleison, ‘Lord, have mercy.’ I remind myself that mercy is another word for compassion: bringing an attentive gaze to another’s suffering, offering kindness, and asking what would be of service. Attentiveness is key. The act of attending, the gift of one’s focus, leads to purity of heart.
As I write these reflections, I’m conscious now of my own resistance to puritas cordis, or at least the translation. That word 'purity’ carries too many overtones of enforced chastity, sexual shame, 'purity culture.’ The early monks practiced celibacy, but their primary aim was not the containment of eros. Perhaps a better translation of puritas cordis would be singleness of heart, attentiveness of heart, the ability to hone our gaze — and thus our compassion — into a finely wrought jewel, and give it to the Other.”
- Fred Bahnson, from “Keeping the World in Being: Meditations on Longing”