No Comfort: There Is None

For all of us there comes a time when we are unable to comfort someone we love. There is nothing we can say or do that will ease their pain. We can only mutely register their need and pray that God will do what we cannot. It is at such times that we know our own fragility and are humbled by our incapacity. We discover that all our ambitions and dreams are as nothing compared with this desire to help another. We are finally freed from our obsession with self, but at the cost of feeling a pain so intense that it numbs us utterly. Overstatement? If you think so, you probably have not yet experienced what I am describing. This morning that experience of aching helplessness is being undergone at many a hospital bedside, in prison waiting-rooms, refugee camps and behind the curtains of respectable houses on respectable streets that give every appearance of knowing no need. Most of us have a busy day ahead, filled with plans for this and that, shot through, I hope, with moments of joy and gladness. Let us remember, and pray for, those less fortunate — those who grieve silently, inwardly, for whom there is no comfort, given or received. It is the work of the Communion of Saints and, as such, our work, too.

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