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White Dove Bird

White Dove Bird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry – can never hear the “peacemakers” beatitude quite the same again after Monty Python.

Unless I hear it in a translation from the Aramaic text. Here it is:

Healed are those who bear the fruit of sympathy and safety for all,
they shall hasten the coming of God’s new creation. 

(Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons and daughters of God)

In my public harangues I have often drawn a distinction between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy, it seems to me, while exhibiting compassion for another, has tended to stand back and not get too involved – a bit like Lucy’s “I love mankind” sentiment. “Empathy” is much more focused and particular, revealing some costly identification with another person – hence Lucy’s follow through “It’s people I can’t stand!”

In the context of peacemaking, “bearing the fruit of sympathy” might be the appropriate stance. A peacemaker serves best when, assessing the whole picture, is able to bring all parties to the negotiating table. An effective arbitrator needs to be one step removed in order to create the space where reconciliation can be restored. It would not be possible to exhibit empathy for either or both parties without projection or transference/counter-transference issues muddying the waters.

The translation from Aramaic seems to bring greater clarity to the peacemaker’s role.