17. Compassion is the virtue which draws you closer to the angels. It is a sister to charity, which also conducts you to God. Ah! Allow your hearts to be moved by compassion before the spectacle of the miseries and sufferings of your fellow creatures. Your tears will act as a balm on their wounds, and when shed out of sympathy will restore their hope and resignation. Oh! What sweetness is to be felt! Nevertheless, it is true that this same sweetness has a certain bitterness about it because it springs up alongside misery. But it does not have the acrid flavour of worldly pleasures, nor does it bring with it the pungent deceptions of emptiness which these pleasures leave behind. The enveloping gentle penetration of this sentiment fills the Soul with joy. Compassion and pity, when deeply felt, are acts of loving; love is devotion; devotion is the forgetfulness of self and it is this, combined with abnegation in favour of those less fortunate than ourselves, which is the height of virtue. It was that virtue which the Divine Messiah practised throughout His entire life and which He taught in His saintly and sublime doctrine. When this doctrine is fully restored to its original pureness and when mankind submits to it, then the world will become a happy place wherein will reign harmony, peace and love.
The most appropriate sentiment for making mankind progress, by dominating his selfishness and pride, which predisposes the soul towards humility, beneficence and the loving of one another, is compassion! This is the same compassion which moves deep inside when you lay eyes on the suffering of your fellow creatures, which imp ells you to extend a helping hand and which brings tears of sympathy to your eyes. Accordingly, never stifle this celestial emotion within your heart. Do not proceed as do those who are hard and selfish, who turn aside from the afflicted because the sight of their miseries perturbs their cheerful lives for an instant. Be fearful of remaining indifferent when you could be of help. Tranquility, bought at the expense of a guilty indifference, is like the tranquility of the Dead Sea, at the bottom of which lies a vast hidden mass of putrid corruption.
Compassion is far removed from causing disturbance and inconvenience, of which the selfish person is so afraid. Nevertheless, on contact with the misfortunes and miseries of another person, the soul, rebounding upon itself, experiences a natural and profound anguish which beyond doubt vibrates throughout the whole being and causes it to be painfully affected. But the compensation is great, however, when compassion suffices to give courage and hope to an unhappy brother or sister, who are moved by a friendly handshake and so turn to you affectionately with tear-filled eyes, perhaps from emotion and gratitude, even before they raise these same eyes to Heaven in thanks for having sent someone to console and sustain them in their hour of need. Compassion then, is the melancholic but celestial precursor of charity, being the first of all virtues, which she has for sister and whose benefits she prepares and ennobles. - MICHAEL (Bordeaux, 1862).