Is there a difference between “sympathy” and “compassion?” If so, what is the difference? And which is more desirable? Sympathy simply means that we feel bad for another. It means, in a sense, that we pity them. But compassion goes much further. It means that we enter into their sufferings and carry their burden with them. It means we suffer with them just as our Lord suffered with and for us. We must only seek to offer true compassion for others and to invite them to offer compassion to us (See Diary #279).
How well do you do this? How well do you offer true compassion? Do you see the hurt of others and seek to be there for them, encouraging them in Christ? And when you suffer, do you allow the compassion of others to flood your soul? Do you allow the Mercy of God to reach out to you through them? Or do you seek only pity from others allowing yourself to fall into the trap of self-pity? Reflect upon the difference in these two qualities and ask our Lord to make your heart one of authentic compassion for all.
Lord, please do give me a heart full of Mercy and compassion. Help me to be attentive to the needs of others and to reach out to them with Your own Divine Heart. May I long to bring Your healing grace to all those in need. And may I never soak in my own self-pity or seek that pity from others. But may I be open to the compassion Your Heart desires to offer me through the love of others. Jesus, I trust in You.
Novena to Saint Joseph