That is the strict definition of the word. It isn't the most accurate way of looking at the word. There is a piece of compassion missing from the definition though and I think that if we are to really be compassionate, we must include the word LOVE. I'm not talking about filial love or erotic love, but I'm talking about agape love. When one feels compassion toward another, the unconditional love of one's neighbor (agape love) must play an integral part in being authentic in compassionate feelings.
But it is hard. It is incredibly hard. Man is fallen and man is sinful. We strive to perfect virtues, even if they are not cardinal, but we will fall short. I am guilty of this. Every human person is guilty of this. But if we keep agape love in the forefront, we can succeed in drawing closer to that perfection. The largest act of compassion that we have witness to is the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus, Our Lord. He knew that we were shackled by sin. He knew that no matter what we would do, as human persons, we would fall short of agape love. And His sacrifice shows that He did have a strong desire to alleviate our suffering. We must, must, must keep this in front of us. But we lose sight of this far too often.
As we look into our lives today, we must understand that all people who are afflicted with some sort of malady, must be afforded compassion, must it be complete? I don't know, but I do know that it should be, at least to a lesser degree.
The one major issue that mankind has with compassion is that it is viewed as subjective. We determine to what degree we apply this virtue. What we should do is strive to apply it 100% every time we are to apply it. We don't. I am guilty of this and there is no excuse for it, other than to say that my application is sometimes subjective. Every situation is different, I understand that, but the application should always be 100%. What shouldn't be, is that we only apply 90% compassion, because we don't feel that the compassion is 100% warranted. That is not our calling as human persons.
My prayer for today is that I am more compassionate. My prayer for today is that I come to a more complete application of compassion. I'm not perfect and I know that I deserve 100% compassion from my fellow man. If I deserve to receive it, then I deserve to give it. We can only approach agape love when we unconditionally relate to each other.
Please don't misunderstand compassion with righteous anger though. Even though we may be angry with another person, our level of compassion should always remain. We can be justified and the person may need to make proper and diligent amends for his actions, but we can still show compassion. We should be seeking perfection of virtue. We have Christ Jesus as our model. We will never attain perfection in this life, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive for it.
If ever I have been less than 100% compassionate for my fellow man, I am sorry. I will continue to strive to be better.
Compassionate and merciful Jesus, my heart longs for Thy perfection. Not only dost Thou share in my sufferings, Thou hast voluntarily accepted them.
Thy proficiency at perceiving my soul Is compared to reading large fonts in a book: Nothing is hidden from Thee! Thy merciful nature knows my intentions.
Considering my continuous weaknesses, Thou art dedicated to the cause of my salvation.
Jesus, Thou art most kind and forgiving: Thou art the proven Lord of compassion!
That is my prayer for compassion. Please strive to be like Christ. He is the Lord of compassion.