GeE 76: Sympathy For Pain And Sorrow

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76. A person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness.*

The footnote here is lengthier than usual:

* From the patristic era, the Church has valued the gift of tears, as seen in the fine prayer “Ad petendam compunctionem cordis”. It reads: “Almighty and most merciful God, who brought forth from the rock a spring of living water for your thirsting people: bring forth tears of compunction from our hardness of heart, that we may grieve for our sins, and, by your mercy, obtain their forgiveness” (cf. Missale Romanum, ed. typ. 1962, p. [110]).

Tears are not about sorrow only. They might be tears of “joy,” or other strong emotions. The suggestion is that deep emotion draws something from within ourselves. Deep within. The gift is also something that arises when we are for others, not totally unlike the way God is, or can be, for us:

He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus. Such persons are unafraid to share in the suffering of others; they do not flee from painful situations. They discover the meaning of life by coming to the aid of those who suffer, understanding their anguish and bringing relief. They sense that the other is flesh of our flesh, and are not afraid to draw near, even to touch their wounds. They feel compassion for others in such a way that all distance vanishes. In this way they can embrace Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).

Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness.

You can check the full document Gaudete et Exsultate on the Vatican website.

 

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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