As with every month, during this Year of Mercy, we choose a different corporal or spiritual work of mercy and dive into the details. This month we discuss the spiritual work of mercy to comfort the sorrowful.
It seems like every time I attend a wake for someone’s passing, I never know what to say to the bereft family members. Does that happen to you as well? How does one truly comfort the sorrowful at such a time of great loss? Words seem so inadequate; well, at least my words seem inadequate. At such times, I try to remember what it was like when I was on the receiving end, at the wakes of both of my parents. For me, the mere presence of a trusted friend, who did not need to say a single word, brought me much comfort. She showed how much she cared, just by being present. Sometimes all that is needed is a hug or a smile, filled with love, to comfort the sorrowful.
Make the Effort to Comfort the Sorrowful
This spiritual work of mercy to comfort the sorrowful is not limited only to wakes and funerals. We can also experience sorrow for many other reasons: loss of a marriage, job, or home. Again, when we learn of such events, we seem at a loss for words. We don’t even know how to approach the person, let alone know the right words to say. Sometimes a listening ear is all that is necessary to give the person some comfort. Also, refraining from passing judgment can be helpful.
Tragedy strikes us all, and if we remember “there but for the grace of God, go I” we will make a good effort to comfort the sorrowful. I will say this though, avoiding the person who has suffered a major loss, does nothing to comfort them. Most likely your mere presence alone will alleviate the suffering of the other person – that’s compassion!
Comfort the sorrowful! Feel the blessings that God will grace you with for your efforts.