Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Words of Consolation Not Easily Found

Many times in our lives we are in a situation where words of consolation are in order. It may be a letter which carries our attempts at comfort, an e-mail, a telephone call, or the meeting of the person hurting. Bible & Life has an article by a pastor with the  pastoral responsibility of workers in the diocese. 

He asks the readers what words of consolation have meant the most to them. What words or ours have been helpful to those in pain who have come to us for words of comfort? His article considers the injustice  a woman experienced that left her lonely and dejected.

He was approached by the woman who wanted to speak to him after they finished the meal at the work place. They went to a nearby coffee shop to talk. As soon as they sat down she began to cry and shake. She explained how her boss scolded her for something she did not do, and will have to leave the company. Moreover, they both belonged to the same religion making the situation all the more intolerable for her.

What was he to say to her? Glancing at the woman  he was wondering how to respond. He tried to recall some Scripture quotes that would be appropriate. No-- would it not be better to simply tell her to be strong and trust in God? He finally decided what to say but his head and heart didn't agree. After she finished talking she excused herself and went to the bathroom. He was confused and the coffee was getting cold, as he continued to finger the cup.

In prayer he asked God to either help him say the right words or in some way console the woman. In his grumbling he open his carrying bag and took out a memo pad and began writing what was in his heart very slowly. "Sister, hearing your very difficult situation I do not know what to say, but I will keep you in my prayers." He inserted the paper very carefully in her purse.

Returning from the bathroom she told the priest she  had an appointment and would have to leave. They went out together and with the parting salutation  each went their own way. He had a heavy heart returning to his office where he received a text message from the woman. " Father,  thank you for listening to me and I will also remember you in prayer."

The article concludes with his knowing that he is not going to have the necessary words that people need to hear when they are hurting. However, at night before going to bed he remembers those who have entrusted themselves to him in prayer, those who are facing problems and those who have  annoyed him, and he brings them to the attention of God.

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