"For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant" (Is 42:14)

Day 4: 'Lux in Domino' Examen 4/5: CONSOLATION

ONSOLATION: The Greek words that mean the same thing as “fellow feeling” are Συμπάθεια (Sympatheia) and Συνχαίρει (Synchairei). Both have prefixes that mean with, together or same (syn, sym). Sympatheia means ‘to suffer with’ while sunchairo means ‘to rejoice with, to sympathize in gladness’ (Strong’s Greek 4796). “Fellow feeling”—both suffering and rejoicing—are other-centered and are sources of true gratification and consolation. There is a counter-feeling which St Augustine of Hippo calls “incurvatus in se,” i.e., turned or curved inward on oneself. It is St Augustine’s definition of sin whereby sin occurs when someone’s cause of pleasure is only for self-delight or self-gratification. When something is desired for one’s self-delight or self-gratification the counter-action turns into vice. Why do you think would Jesus send his men two by two? Because he wants to guard them from this tendency. ‘Suffering with’ and ‘rejoicing with’ find their deepest manifestation when united with Jesus Christ poor and humble. Therefore, St Francis of Assisi finds true and deep joy in suffering the same suffering of the Lord. This is a special kind of suffering and rejoicing—an extravagant and privileged joy. “Jesus says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep’… there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Lk 15:6-9). St Ignatius of Loyola, in the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits, says, “I call it consolation when an interior movement is aroused in the soul, by which inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord, and as a consequence, can love no creature on the face of the earth for its own sake, but only in the Creator of them all” (SE 316). I ask, “What has been my true source of joy this past hours? To whom do I express deep gratitude?” “I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord” (Ps 27:6).