Monday, June 12, 2017

Compassion and Encouragement

Today we begin a two week reading of the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Church in Corinth. He opens his letter describing God not only of the Father of Jesus but as

the Father of compassion and God of encouragement.

The first of the words is similar to the word we use when we sing Kyrie, Eleison (Lord, have mercy). Many linguists will point out that the word St. Paul uses hear is less removed; it represents a deeply felt kind of compassion/mercy. 

The second word , encouragement (paraklesis), is linked to the word for the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete). At the heart of both is the image of someone who is constantly by your side to console and advise every step of the way. This implies that we should be ready to listen. 

But St. Paul then tells what we must do with the encouragement/advise we receive from God. It is given not just to make us feel better, but

so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.

We receive from God so that we might pass on to others what we receive. We pray, we listen, we pass on to others who are suffering.