From this patience there spring meekness and kindliness, for none
can be meek in adversity save the patient man.
Meekness gives a man peace and rest in all things. For the meek
man can bear provoking words and ways, uncivil looks and deeds,
and every kind of injustice towards himself and his friends, and
yet in all things remain in peace, for meekness is peaceful
By meekness the irascible or repulsive power remains unmoved, in
quietude; the desirous power is uplifted toward virtue; the
rational power, perceiving this, rejoices. And the conscience,
tasting it, rests in peace; for the second mortal sin, Anger,
fury, or wrath, has been cast out. For the Spirit of God dwells in
the humble and the meek; and Christ says: Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth, that is, their own nature and
all earthly things, in meekness; and after that the Country of
Life in Eternity.
Out of the same source wherein meekness takes its rise springs
kindliness, for none can be kind save the meek man.
This kindness makes a man show a friendly face, and give a cordial
response, and do compassionate deeds, to those who are
quarrelsome, when he hopes that they will come to know themselves
and mend their ways.
By gentleness and kindness, charity is kept quick and fruitful in
man, for a heart full of kindness is like a lamp full of precious
oil; for the oil of mercy enlightens the erring sinner with good
example, and with words and works of comfort it anoints and heals
those whose hearts are wounded or grieved or perplexed. And it is
a fire and a light for those who dwell in the virtues, in the fire
of charity; and neither jealousy nor envy can perturb it.
Out of kindliness springs compassion, which is a fellow-feeling
with all men; for none can share the griefs of all, save him who
Compassion is an inward movement of the heart, stirred by pity for
the bodily and ghostly griefs of all men. This compassion makes a
man suffer with Christ in His passion; for he who is compassionate
marks the wherefore of His pains and the way of His resignation;
of His love, His wounds, His tenderness; of His grief and His
nobleness; of the disgrace, the misery, and the shame He endured;
of the way in which He was despised; of His crown; of the nails;
of His mercifulness; of His destruction and dying in patience.
These manifold and unheard-of sorrows of Christ, our Saviour and
our Bridegroom, move all kindly men to pity and compassion with
Compassion makes a man look into himself, and recognize his
faults, his feebleness in virtues and in the worship of God, his
lukewarmness, his laziness, his many failings, the time he has
wasted and his present imperfection in moral and other virtues;
all this makes a man feel true pity and compassion for himself.
Further, compassion marks the errors and disorders of our
fellow-creatures, how little they care for their God and their
eternal blessedness, their ingratitude for all the good things
which God has done for them, and the pains He suffered for their
sake; how they are strangers to virtue, unskilled and unpractised
in it, but skilful and cunning in every wickedness; how attentive
they are to the loss and gain of earthly goods, how careless and
reckless they are of God, of eternal things, and their eternal
bliss. When he marks this, a good man is moved to compassion for
the salvation of all men.
Such a man will also regard with pity the bodily needs of his
neighbours, and the manifold sufferings of human nature; seeing
men hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, sick, poor, and abject; the
manifold oppressions of the poor, the grief caused by loss of
kinsmen, friends, goods, honour, peace; all the countless sorrows
which befall the nature of man. These things move the just to
compassion, so that they share the sorrows of all. But their
greatest pain springs from this: that men are so impatient of this
suffering, that they lose their reward, and may often earn hell
for themselves. Such is the work of compassion and of pity.
This work of compassion and of common neighbourly love overcomes
and casts out the third mortal sin, that is hatred or Envy. For
compassion is a wound in the heart, whence flows a common love to
all mankind and which cannot be healed so long as any suffering
lives in man; for God has ordained grief and sorrow of heart
before all the virtues. And this is why Christ says: Blessed are
they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. And that shall come
to pass when they reap in joy that which now, through compassion
and pity, they sow in tears.