Spiritual Works of Mercy: Comfort the Sorrowing

I am sometimes in the privileged position of encountering others in their times of profound suffering—and seemingly unanswered prayers. These are good people, caring people, faithful to what the Gospels teach us. I listen to them feeling helpless, at times, because there are often no quick-fix solutions.

Recently, one of our Associates told me about a dearest friend struggling with terminal illness, treatments and dialysis, and trying to keep a business going—a business which assists others in their times of illness. He, too, is a good person, caring person, and faithful to what the Gospels teach us.

While dealing with her own difficult emotions, our Associate offers him help and support.

After pouring out her heart to me, she became quiet. In the silence I tried so hard to find the words that would help her carry this cross. I also prayed.

First, I repeated back to her—using some of her own words—the suffering she just shared with me, to let her know that I was truly listening and understand. Listening to another person put into words the suffering that they are experiencing is a salve for the wound.

I was also inspired to share a short prayer I had learned in Elementary School (over 55 years ago). One of our Sisters taught us the prayer: “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.” How often I have prayed this in times of difficulty, when no resolution was in sight. It was my only rope to hold when “sinking”. This was the only thing I could share with her: “Each time your heart sinks, let it become an opportunity to turn to God for help.”

Several weeks later, at our Associate meeting, I heard the Associate telling someone that the little prayer had become her rope also. It was the only thing she could do, but it brought hope.

When we become aware of another’s sorrow it is a call from God to truly listen, to pray for wisdom to speak the right words, and to remind them: God is close and hears! God does care!

                                                                        Psalm 34:18

Sister Joanne, SDR
We Remember
Merciful Jesus, grant them eternal rest.
1Sister M. Martha Berdar 1985
6Sister M. Sabina Horvath 1962
11Sister M. Lucretia Seif 2002
16Sister M. Colombiere Hofstetter 2012
20Sister M. Catherine Kocsak 1995
22Sister M. Perpetua Takacs 1987
25Sister M. Fidelis Biro 1997
29Sister M. Imelda Siebert 1986

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