Day 31 - Consolation
Day 31 - listen here
‘Here is the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.’
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write: Happy are the dead who from now on die in the Lord. Yes, says the Spirit, that they might have respite from their labours, for their deeds follow along with them.’
So we have been on a ‘tour’ of consolation, from the goodness of Creation in Genesis, through encountering Jesus’s glory, to hearing Paul’s chronicling of the experience of consolation in this miraculous and emerging Christian community. Today we arrive at the end of Scripture, the Book of Revelation. We see the fruits of a mature consolation: patience endurance, resilience in a time of trial and tribulation. Patience is a sign of true renewal, and it requires humility and trust. Trust that it is God’s work and it is in God’s hands. Pope Francis, when he addressed his fellow Jesuits in Rome at the recent General Congregation, called on them to exercise the ‘ministry of consolation’. Amidst a Church that has been too often controlling, too obsessed with power, it is the authentic joy of the Gospel to which we are called to give witness. There is a great thirst to encounter that in our exhausted cultures, but it cannot be manufactured – a false joy and a fake smile is easily seen through. When we use religious ideas and language to control people, this is a sign of desolation; authentic consolation creates space for God to do the work. A fruit of consolation is that hope that things will get better in God’s time.