In “Autobiographical Writings”, Mark Twain remembers his mother, Jane Lampton Clemens.
“She had,” he writes, “a slender, small body, but a large heart — a heart so large that everybody’s griefs and everybody’s joys found welcome in it and hospitable accommodation.”
He tells us that “She always found something….to love” even in the “toughest” of people and animals. “She was the natural ally and friend of the friendless.”
When some in her Presbyterian community took to abusing Satan, she “admitted that Satan was utterly wicked and abandoned”, but also added that Satan was a sinner “just….like the rest.”
Jane’s next thoughts are profound and make us ponder. “….who prays for Satan? Who….has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner who needed it most, our one friend and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one….”
Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist monk, observes in “Altruism” that “one can feel profound aversion to injustice, cruelty, oppression, fanaticism, and harmful actions, and do everything one can to thwart them, without succumbing to hatred. When one looks at an individual prey to hatred, one should regard him more as a sick person to be cured rather than as an enemy to subdue. It is important not to confuse the sick person with his illness, or a feeling of repulsion for an abominable action with definitive condemnation of a person.”
One of the teachings in Juan Mascaro’s “The Creation of Faith” is: “Those who are bad deserve more love and help: the sick need a physician more than the healthy.”