All aspirant paladins and neophyte priests and priestesses are taught of the Light and its Three Virtues before they earn full rank. First, they learn of Respect. To understand Respect, you must first understand your connection to the universe. Each and every one of us is connected to the world about us. When you experience emotion, that feeling is the manifestation of your connection to all else. It is because of this that paladins must remain true–but not surrender control–to their emotions. By experiencing such emotion, by -feeling- something, we are assured that we are a part of the universe which caused such emotion. Secure in this knowledge, we can then act, and seek to make the world a better place.
Respect itself, then, is the acknowledgement that not only are we connected to the universe, but everyone else is as well. By damaging others' connections, or by hampering their happiness, we harm the universe as a whole, and therefore ourselves as well. As such, we must always endeavor to Respect all living things, regardless of their own allegiance, creed, or heritage.
The second Virtue is Tenacity. It is this virtue that causes so many aspirants and neophytes to give up on their training. It is Tenacity that teaches us that true dedication to the Light is not accomplished in days, weeks, or even months. Rather, it is a lifelong undertaking.
The world is much larger than one lone soul, and it can change an individual in as little as a day. On the other hand, it takes much, much longer to change the world. And yet, we may take heart in the realization that, connected as we all are, a lone soul cannot help but affect the universe and all others connected to it.
Only after both Respect and Tenacity are understood and mastered by potential paladins and priests, are they taught of the third and final Virtue: Compassion. Compassion is the most powerful–and dangerous–of the Three Virtues. It is a double-edged sword that, if wielded improperly, can cause more harm than good.
Consider, for a moment, an ordinary individual set upon a task. The task seems insurmountable at first glance, and a passing paladin comes to the laborer's aid. With the paladin's assistance, the task is accomplished with ease, and the worker carries on, having learned nothing.
What if the paladin had not rendered his assistance? If he had stayed his hand, the worker might have realized that the task was not so impossible, and would have been able to accomplish the task set before him.In doing so, he would have grown as an individual and as a workman. But this chance for personal improvement was taken away by the paladin's improper application of Compassion.
Consider another example. Compassion dictates that we render assistance where appropriate. There are those who take it upon themselves decide what "appropriate" is. Unfortunately, our wayward brothers and sisters of the Scarlet Crusade are the perfect example of this. Their version of Compassion is to relieve any who they suspect of ill intent of the burden of life. They believe in mercy by death.
A true paladin offers a chance for peaceful redemption to a defeated enemy, not through death, but through life. We only kill to prevent our foes from causing further damage to the world. This is why Compassion is taught last. As the most difficult to understand, it is reserved only for the wise and patient aspirants who make it through the first two Virtues."