A Reflection on Consolation

Sometimes my husband and I have the chance to read together...it is rare. Our favorite types of books have short, daily reflections. We especially like Heni Nouwen. Right now we are reading Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith. Last night we read from the February 9th entry (we're a little behind). Here is what we read:

"Consolation is a beautiful word. It means 'to be' (con-) 'with the lonely one' (solus). To offer consolation is on 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 can and 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. Don't be afraid. I am here.' That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as to receive it."

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