From the HouseTops, Catholic Magazine

Saint Benedict Magazine

Heart of Jesus

Source Of All Consolation

Rev. F. Konz, OMI

It is a certain fact that our life on earth is a life of suffering. Even the holiest men were subject to miseries and hardships. The Son of God was mocked and scourged, spat upon and put to death; the soul of Our Blessed Lady was transfixed by a sword of seven dolors. Hence, if the holiest men were made to suffer, we need not be surprised when we sinners must drink the chalice of sufferings. Saint Paul impressed upon the Corinthians the truth that to be Christians is identical with being cross-bearers. But it is one thing to suffer, and another thing again to love sufferings. To each of these three ways of suffering we an apply the old adage that misery loves company. In its sufferings, the human heart looks out for sympathy and consolation. Many men give way to sadness, and try to derive consolation from persons or things that are unable to give it. Our Lord, the eternal Truth, says to us: “Come to Me.” As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, says Saint Paul, so also by Christ does our comfort abound. (2 Cor. 1:5) They say: It is the supreme tribute of love that is paid by imitation. 

Since we profess to be disciples and lovers of Christ, we should bring ourselves to love suffering. When God strikes, He also alleviates our sorrow, He sends us to the source of all consolation, to the Heart of Our Savior. If misery loves company, there is no better companion to wish for than the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is a companion who knows from His own experience what a heart feels like when sorrow and pain weigh it down. Our Lord shared our lot. He saw a dear friend in His cross, a friend who accompanied Him from Bethlehem to Egypt, from Egypt to Nazareth, and from Nazareth to Mount Calvary. Holy Scripture tells us that He too had to conquer His aversion to the cross. He prayed three times in the garden that the chalice might pass away, in His agony He sweat blood, and when He realized that it was the will of God that He should suffer, He did not throw the cross away, He remained faithful to His friend, and through His faithfulness to it, the world was saved. To this loving companion we should go in our sufferings.

Let us go to the fountain of all consolation in all our sufferings,
that the comforts of Christ may abound in us.

The widow of Naim was in great sorrow. Her only son, her supporter, had been taken away from her by death, and now they were carrying him to the grave. She would never see him again, and how she would make a living for herself she did not know. God seemed cruel and unjust to have taken away her only son, and she may have found it difficult to be resigned to His will. But, behold, the Savior appears at the gate of the city. He sees the dead boy and his aged mother and His heart is moved with mercy toward her. Without knowing it, the sorrowful widow of Naim has come to the Fountain of all consolation, she has found a Heart in the multitude that can truly help and console her. The people that accompanied her expressed their sympathy by weeping with her. But the Sacred Heart says: “Weep not. Cease to weep; I will turn your sorrow into joy.” He touches the bier, and says: “Young man, I say to thee, arise.” He that was dead sat up and began to speak. The Evangelist says significantly: “He gave him to his mother.” Christ gave her an abiding consolation, a truly abounding comfort. We may be sure that the widow never passed through that gate without gratefully remembering the great Prophet who bestowed such consolation on her.

In our churches there is a small door that hides away the same great Prophet; it is the door of the tabernacle, where the Sacred Heart resides to love and console us. Our Lord’s Hands and Feet and His Sacred Side bear the wounds of His sufferings, inviting us to take refuge in them when sufferings befall us. If poverty makes you feel downhearted, consider if it can be greater than that of the King of kings who lives under the appearance of bread, and whose throne is the narrow tabernacle. If you have to work hard and you find it difficult to do the will of others, remember that the Lord of Heaven and earth obeys the priest and comes on the altar at the words of consecration pronounced by the priest. Or are you despised? Remember that Jesus Christ is neglected, ill-treated, profaned and ridiculed even by many of His friends. Our Lord makes our burden sweet and light. He waits for us to console us, He knows everything that is in us, trying to draw us toward Him. Therefore, let us go to the fountain of all consolation in all our sufferings, that the comforts of Christ may abound in us.

The Sacred Heart not only sympathizes with us, but also relieves our sufferings. When Saint John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus, and they asked Him: Are you He that is to come, or look we for another, Jesus said to them: “Go and relate to John what you have seen and heard. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached to them, and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me.” (Matt 11: 3-6) Although miracles are less frequent today than in the days of Our Lord, yet we sometimes learn that people were miraculously restored to health, or received favors under extraordinary circumstances, in places where God seems to grant a more favorable hearing to our prayers than elsewhere. It is not without reason that Our Lord said: “Blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me.” We are inclined to think that God must hear us always and immediately, and forget that God owes us nothing. If He sends us sufferings, we are bound to accept them; and if He deigns to give us consolation, we shall receive it as a gift which God is not bound to give us.

Whether the Sacred Heart will relieve our sufferings depends chiefly on two conditions. The first condition is that we must have a lively confidence in His love. As we said before: Christ required confidence in the sick and infirm He healed. “Believe that I can do this to you,” He said to them, and it was to the virtue of a lively confidence that He ascribed His miracles: “Thy faith has made thee whole.” Our misery and sufferings give us a right to ask Him for consolation, and to expect Him to be a loving Friend to us, a Friend more merciful and understanding than any human friend, since He is Mercy and Love itself. Yet we must confess that we are wanting in this lively confidence which should seem so natural to us. Why are we wanting in it? Because we know that we are unfaithful to Him, and so often resemble the Jews, who loved Him when He punished them, but forgot Him when He ceased to strike them.

But this is precisely the second condition: We must serve God in good days and evil days. We do not seek His consolation because we know that we are seldom on very good terms with God. The root of the evil is that we do not want to know God. We seldom think about Him. We are interested in the things that please us; but the moment we come upon something referring to God, it is unpleasant and we like to turn to something else. If we truly love the Sacred Heart, the fountain of all consolation, we cannot resist the impulse to be near Him; how can we make a friend if we take no notice of him? If we wish the Sacred Heart to console us, we must know this Heart, study it, listen to it and make good use of its graces. When we know it, we must love it. When we know and love the Sacred Heart, we shall not only put up with our sufferings; the Sacred Heart will make us enjoy its consolation so overwhelmingly that we shall begin to consider our cross as a good friend who “worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4: 17). 

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