Villa La Paz Newsletter June 2017

Console: to alleviate the grief, sense of loss, or trouble of

Consolation: the act or an instance of consoling: the state of being consoled

Merriam Webster’s College Dictionary
Third Edition

Consolation is a beautiful word. It means “to be” (con-) “with the lonely one” (solus). To offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness, and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation. We must console the mother who lost her child, the young person with AIDS, the family whose house burned down, the soldier who was wounded, the teenager who contemplates suicide, the old man who wonders why he should stay alive. To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, “You are not alone. I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Do not be afraid. I am here”.

Jesus reminds us that we do not belong to this world. We have been sent into the world to be living witnesses of God’s unconditional love, calling all people to look beyond the passing structures of out temporary existence to the eternal life promised to us.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Every day we are given small opportunities to bring someone joy that can make a huge difference in a life.

Delilah Radio hostess

The gift of consolation to another is an inestimable gift. It is a gift that has to be given freely and without bounds since it is meant to confer hope and lift others from the darkness of despair to the light of God’s love. We accompany another in pain and suffering and, in some ways, suffer with the person consoled, not physically but spiritually. Our purpose in consoling is to transmit God’s unconditional love to the person consoled, to show that through our efforts God is present to that person. Our actions and love mirror the actions and love of God so that, vicariously, we also receive consolation, for in allowing God to act through us we receive abundant strength and grace. The consoler and the one consoled in concert with God mirror the love between the three divine Persons of the Trinity since the consoler, the one consoled and God interact in an embrace of love. Seen in this light consolation is one of God’s greatest gifts since by consoling one another we enter into the very life of the Trinity, a boundless life of love and self-giving. Without consolation, without an outpouring of love and compassion for one another, without selfgiving, we turn in on ourselves and become islands in a world crying out for solace and comfort.

Consolation is difficult. It requires a lettinggo of one’s own needs and simply listening to and accompanying the person who suffers, knowing that despite our desire we may not be able to alleviate the pain and suffering of the other. Perhaps that is the most difficult part of consolation, feeling ourselves impotent in the face of another’s pain and knowing that we too are vulnerable and that except for the grace of God we could be the person suffering and in pain. We must never feel that we are the one responsible for alleviating the suffering of the person consoled since in most instances that is beyond our control. That we place in God’s hands. Our function as consolers is to transmit God’s unconditional love and compassion.

It gives us great comfort to witness the interaction of our children when they perceive others in pain and suffering. Even though they too may be in discomfort their own needs become secondary and they are quick to console and succor others when called for. As Our Lord often enjoins us we must become like little children. We must see the world through children’s eyes and respond to the suffering around us and act unconditionally for the good of others.

Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels. They live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I now realize that only when I can enter with the children into their joy will I be able to enter also with them into their poverty and their pain. God obviously wants me to walk into the world of suffering with a little child on each hand.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

We are very grateful to you for enabling us to care for these beautiful children. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

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