Today we will focus on mercy as it applies to motherhood in the Spiritual Act of Mercy: Comfort the Afflicted.
Blessed be the . . . God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4).
This Spiritual Work of Mercy is part of our feminine genius as St. John Paul II named it. Within our very nature is a desire to comfort the afflicted. This is such a beautiful part of our femininity and such a gift to our children. The world is full of suffering and hardship, and God entrusts these beautiful souls to our care, so that we can shower them with the love, compassion, comfort, and mercy of the God who made them. We exercise this work of mercy when they get their first “boo-boo,” and when they suffer their first rejection. God is a God rich in his consolations, but part of preparing our children to receive the comfort and consolations of the Holy Spirit is allowing them to know the consolation of their mothers.
We also have the privilege of allowing them to see God as he comforts us. One of the most tangible stories of God’s comfort to my family came out of a very difficult season. Our last three pregnancies resulted in loss, and the last loss was followed by an emergency hysterectomy. I was devastated to lose the hope of another baby, and so were my children. The morning of the procedure, I woke early, unable to sleep, and opened my Bible. I had opened to the Psalms, and found myself reading Psalm 73 when verse 26 jumped out at me: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I clung to this verse, later sharing it with my husband, and we prayed it together throughout that arduous day. Weeks later, a dear friend who had been walking through our heartache with us since our second trimester loss two years before this, sent us a gift in the mail. I had not told her about the scripture that had consoled me that day, but when I opened the package, there was a plaque to hang in our home with that exact scripture on it. I immediately began to cry, and when my children asked why, I said, “Jesus just sent me the kindest message of comfort and love,” and proceeded to tell them the story. And there, in the beautiful safety of our domestic church, my children saw God as a God who comforts.
When we comfort them in their affliction, it not only reveals to them the love of a merciful heavenly Father and Savior, but it also shows them how to love and comfort others. We love them because Christ first loved us, and they love others because they experience the love of Christ through us.