justice – the determination and assignment of merited rewards or punishments in the adjustment of conflicting claims
peace – a state or period of mutual concord, an agreement to end hostility
forgiveness – to give up a claim on requital
compassion – being viscerally moved by someone else’s plight, effort is made to see the world through the eyes of the person in need, and then seeking to meet this other’s needs on their terms
There is a difference between justice and compassion. There is a difference between peace and compassion. The difference is that people can be just, but still hate. The difference is that peace can be brought about, but people can still hate. You can even forgive people and still hate them. But there is no way to be compassionate and still hate.
Being compassionate draws on and shapes your character. Being compassionate requires you to continually stand in front of the mirror of your psychology. And in order to grow in compassion it requires the continual surrendering of your self to the service of the needs of others, which is a deeply personal journey.
As Catholic Workers we are very clear that needs exist in the lives of others because of the unjust waring that is waged in corrupt social systems that are designed to discriminate and control and punish. But unlike people and movements that think peace will be found by suing for justice we know that justice and peace will only be brought about by the readjustment of our hearts through genuine love.
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each [person’s] life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow