Do you know what it means to receive a consolation from the Lord? In the work of prayer for example, it is when you feel a deep sense of His presence. But even in our day-to-day lives we can receive consolations from the Lord. These come in the form of a perk, or a little gift that the Lord puts in our life when things are hard or when we most need a pick-me-up, or a tangible sense that He is journeying with us.
I have been suffering from a chronic debilitating illness for a few years. This past May I was struck with a second, more serious debilitating illness. I never know from day to day, or even hour to hour how I will feel, or whether I will be bed-ridden for a day or three. I am often in pain. I have not been able to drive for the past nine months so I rarely get out—except to Mass. On top of illness, I lost my job two years ago and have not had any income since my unemployment ran out in the first week of October of last year.
But often God gives me little consolations, little blessings to make me smile, or laugh or sense His continued presence in my day. It may have something to do with my “glass half full” personality, but I challenge you, if you are having a hard day or hard week, and who is not in these hard times and in this climate of increased Catholic-bashing, to look for His consolations in your life.
Plus, it is Lent. And people who fast and abstain are supposed to be kind and upbeat. But it is hard to do. It’s hard to laugh when you’re hungry or craving chocolate or that extra cup of coffee, right?
A few weeks ago a lady from church, who is only an acquaintance of mine, stopped at my home on a Sunday afternoon. She knew that I have been struggling with illness and probably suspected that things are tight here but she did not know that I have not had any income for almost five months. Someone at church had given her a monetary gift, as her husband died a few years back and her full-time retail job does not pay enough for her to cover her expenses. And she is losing her home in a few months. Nonetheless, God “put it on her heart” somehow that I needed it more; and her monetary gift became her “re-gift” to me. This was a consolation to me from the Lord, as if to say, “Remember, even in all of this you can trust me.”
Here is a consolation the Lord gave to me yesterday, as I was bed-ridden. It came in the form of a short blog that I felt the Lord led me to and it puts my life in perspective http://www.catholic-convert.com/2012/02/24/from-largest-to-smallest-in-the-universe-and-back-how-big-is-god/
And one day last week Jacquelyn, my dear friend and prayer partner, who lives across the country, sent this little ditty to me. She and her husband home educate their five children so this is from a mom who is teaching her 7-year-old son, Elias, math. It came in the midst of a crisis I was facing, so I saw it as yet another consolation from the Lord. He knew I needed it at the exact moment I opened my email from her.
Mom (reading a word problem): There are 92 plums in the orchard and 26 apples. How many more plums are there than apples?
Elias: I don’t know-why don’t they just count them?
Mom (next problem): Bob and Sharon sent out 182 wedding invitations. 26 people said they could not come. How many people are coming to the wedding?
Elias: The ones that want the food?
Mom: Elias, this is a math problem. There is a way to find out the answer with a math problem.
Elias: Why do I have to find out how many people are coming to Bob and Sharon’s wedding?
Mom: It’s just a math problem. They want you to figure out which type of math function to use, addition or subtraction.
Elias: Well, if I ever meet Bob and Sharon, I am going to ask them why they used a math book to find out how many people are coming to their wedding!
I laughed as I read about Elias’ math lesson and thought to myself, “Thanks Lord. You knew I needed to laugh right now and to remember that I will get to the other side of this problem.”
Have you received any consolations from the Lord lately? If so, I encourage you to share them in the comments section below. We all need to smile, laugh or just be encouraged more often. Life is hard but God is there with us in the smallest ways, if we are only open to His consolations.