Comfort my people: speak to their heart.
This is the first of series of reflections God’s comfort and our neediness.
1. What is comfort.
One of the strongest images of God in our Christian faith is that of ‘Comforter’. In the person of Jesus, God has come into our midst to be with us and to console our broken hearts. When people turn to God in prayer, they often do so because they are in distress. Yet God doesn’t seem to take away our pain and difficulties so we can rightly ask: how does God comfort us.
Firstly, just what is this ‘comfort’? Well, it is not being relaxed and comfortable, snoozing in an easy chair, no pain, no problems. The word comes from two Latin words for ‘with’ and ‘strength’. So when God wants to comfort us, it isn’t to take challenges away but to strengthen us through our pain and suffering to grow as human beings. Much as we don’t like it, these are an integral part of maturing and learning to love.
God’s comfort is directed to helping us face the challenges of life. At times, these just happen to us: we lose our job, get cancer, are bashed up. These things we often don’t deserve. But more often than not our distress comes from our own personal liabilities, in traditional terms our human tendency to sin. When we hear the word ‘sin’ today, we tend to absolve ourselves saying “Hey, I’m not really a sinner, I’m a good person. I haven’t killed anyone”, yet we all have personal habits and weaknesses that undermine our lives, damage our relationships and cause unhappiness to ourselves and to others and these we need to face. In order to receive the comfort of God, we need to first be honest about the reality of our need.
Loving Father, you sent your son Jesus, to come amongst us and speak to our hearts. We know our pain and struggle. May your Holy Spirit guide us through the maze of our problems so that we may share your comfort with our family and friends. We ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear us
Sr Kym Harris osb