DIFFERENTIATION in life dictates there are always at least two ways or two views of looking at things. Two is merely indicative of the manifestation of infinity in terms our humanity can understand. Two differentiates when we need to separate things for our understanding. Two is our default, though there is always more than two. But two is helpful if we accept what simplicity we can learn from it.
There are two types of compassion:
Competent compassion strives resiliently. This is a worthwhile physical response to suffering. When a person is competent in their compassion they exercise and/or experience care in suffering. Adversity is the antecedent, proving ground, and nurturer of faith. If suffering is to make us further pliable to life, we need to draw on the capacities of being competent in compassion. Competent compassion makes us softer of heart. Then we may develop our compassionate compassion, for competent compassion can be further established.
Compassionate compassion accepts broken situations by being with a person who is suffering. It is the solemnity of presence. It is a powerful resurrection force, going one-hundred-and-eighty degrees against the reality of suffering, even in the acceptance of suffering. Such presence is life simply because it has faith in the invisible. And all evil set against life can do nothing about this life that compassion brings. Compassionate compassion is a worthwhile spiritual response to suffering simply because those who have capacity for it believe into the realm of the practice of resurrection in and out of all circumstances.
Both vagaries of compassion are as important as they are different.
Of course, compassion is an appropriate response to suffering because the word literally means “to suffer with” given also that passion (from passio) means “suffer”.
With thanks to Jean Vanier.