Perfect Consoler, Sweet Guest of the Soul, Sweetest Relief
Have you ever felt lonely, hopeless, plagued by various trials, tired of life or weary of everyone?
Perhaps you have never reached this level, but I think you have experienced what the word of God says, that we are purified like gold in a crucible. Sooner or later, we are all affected by various sufferings; physical, psychological, moral and spiritual. Our pain needs relief.
The conventional phrases offered over the centuries, which are reported in the book of Job by his three friends, do not comfort anyone:
- Suffering is due to sin.
- Suffering is God’s correction.
- You must resign yourself because God’s plan is impossible to understand or interpret.
Jesus does not use these phrases, but he does send us the Consoler. What does the Consoler do? To console, as the etymology of the word says, is to be with someone who is alone. To console is not to mourn, it is not to help a person feel sorry for himself by emphasizing his state of pain, encouraging those who suffer to feel like victims of the evil that has struck them; consoling is not even anesthetizing, that is, helping not to think so as not to suffer.
To console is to stand beside those who suffer and make them feel the support; it is facing painful situations together and offering strength (hence the word comfort).
The Holy Spirit is the Consoler because he does all of this and helps us to derive good even from evil.
In this respect, the story of Nick Vujicic comes to mind. Born without arms and without legs, after having rejected suicide for the love of his parents, thanks to their testimony he begins to live by faith. The Holy Spirit has helped him to treasure his experience of pain.
Nick is now a popular motivational speaker; he toured fifty-seven countries around the world testifying to God’s love. He who asked God every night to make him grow limbs, said publicly that he himself was the surprising miracle.
Nick received consolation from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit made him see not only one aspect of his situation but the whole picture. Here, consoling means living his painful situation together with a person and at the same time also showing the advantages, the joys, the conquests of this adventure. Once Nick has experienced true consolation, he is able to offer consolation in turn.
Those who have been able to draw something beautiful from pain truly know how to offer consolation.
Often, we do not console but we deceive people or delude them into believing that everything will be fine or distracting them from their problems. So, we only aggravate the problems.
The Consoler does not promise us that nothing serious will ever happen to us, but he guarantees us that he will always be by our side and that victory is always good.
Another wrong way that we confuse how to console, is when someone vents to us about all the bad he experiences and we immediately pity him, we make him feel like a victim even more.
To the extent that we know how to gain from tribulation we will also know how to console. Not only will we prevent the other from being the victim or escaping from the painful situation perhaps even making acts of desperation, we will help the other to be happy: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.” (Col 1:24, NAB – Revised Edition)
Perfect Consoler, sweet guest of the soul, sweetest relief, come!
Suggested concrete resolutions for this month:
- Resolve to invoke the Consoling Holy Spirit every time we are in pain.
- Open our eyes to specific situations of suffering that require our intervention as consolers.
- Help those who suffer to see the whole picture of their situation, to choose to thank God for what He has done and to refuse to curse God for what He has allowed.
This month’s meditation is by Sr. Tiziana, AVI.