To console is to comfort with your words, with your hands, with your heart, and with your prayers. To console is to mourn with one another and thereby divide the power of the loss. In consoling you make yourself and the person you care about less alone.
You listen from the innermost place in her or his soul, respond from the most generous part of yourself to the neediest part of him or her. More, perhaps, than we would like to acknowledge, life is infused with tragedy. Everybody is given burdens of heart that are almost too much to bear; we all have sorrows and heartaches that bring into landscapes of pain that at times seem untraversable.
There are times when we feel that what we are experiencing will utterly devour or destroy us. To be aware of this is to know how immense the need for consolation is. Faced with midst, we can do nothing but attempt to extend the healing gift even if we feel totally unequipped to offer it.
For no matter how inadequate our unpracticed gestures may seem, they will surely reach into the place that is aching for solace. Consolation is a spiritual undertaking. It begins with the state of grace that gives us wisdom and is one of our highest callings to abide there a while with one another.
We all need to be willing to act as physicians of the spirit for one another during the painful times. For it is when we are assaulted by the visitation of life’s sorrows that we most need to feel the presence of love. It’s when we are broken-hearted that we need to be ministered to, when we are in grief that is when we need to be taken into the presence of God’s grace and love.