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In sorrow, in illness, in mourning, we are in need of consolation. Our relatives and friends try to console us when all others have abandoned us. But their words are only a slight relief. We remain alone in our pain. In any decisive moment, we are alone.

Both the prophet Jeremiah and the prophet Isaiah offer the “book of consolations” where God is presented as a loving Father who says, “I did forsake you for a brief moment, but in great compassion I shall take you back” (Is 54:1-9).

There are certain times when nothing or no one is capable of consoling us. Desolation reaches levels that are much too deep: friends, relatives are not able to reach that level. No one knows whether it is loneliness, frustration, nostalgia, emptiness, or everything put together. Only God can reach the bottom of that abyss.

There is no one who has not experienced, having found him or herself in such a state, suddenly and without knowing how, a profound comfort as if some soothing ointment had been poured on the wounds. God descends upon the wounded soul like a pure, sweet nursemaid. God’s consolation is like cool ointment poured out until it reaches the wounds of desolation.

And if the desolation is due to the absence of God, then a “visit” from God is capable of changing the darkness to light; water will spring forth and the mountains will be laid low changed into roads and the deserts changed into gardens (cf. Is 42:15-17).

Extracted from the book "Sensing Your Hidden Presence" by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga.


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