henri nouwen: giving and receiving consolation

Consolation is a beautiful word. It means “to be” (con-) “with the lonely one” (solus). To offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness, and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation. We can and must console the mother who lost her child, the young person with AIDS, the family whose house burned down, the soldier who was wounded, the teenager who contemplates suicide, the old man who wonders why he should stay alive.

To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, “You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Don’t be afraid. I am here.” That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as to receive it.

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About greg w

I believe chocolate in virtually any configuration is the finest dessert in the history of mankind. I believe my wife is the sexiest woman in the world. I believe modern capitalism will never be replaced by a different -- or better -- form of economics. I believe in clutch hitting in baseball. I believe the Kimber 1911 .45 ACP is the finest handgun ever made in America. I believe the Mossberg Flex 500 pump-action 12 gauge shotgun is the best home defense ever made in America. I believe Tom Waits is the best songwriter of my generation. I believe unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers. As CS Lewis once beautifully wrote, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. I believe that, on balance, Christianity has done more good for humans than bad. I believe it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant, With that being said, I believe there is a profound difference between knowledge and wisdom. Finally, I believe if I yell at the TV during a Colts game, they will play better.

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