Supernatural Hope for Afflicted Humanity
If God’s charity within us is at work, we cannot help but have a heart sensitive toward afflicted humanity: the couple whose marriage is failing, the parent who faces the continual stress of making financial ends meet, the person we know who has a terminal illness, the young person struggling with depression… Whenever we encounter suffering man in the people we meet or know personally, we identify with and desire to lighten their burden in an act of solidarity. Like Jesus the Priest and Mediator for all mankind, all the baptized are called to have a similar mediating and intercessory role for suffering humanity.
When faced with the multitude of persons who suffer everywhere, as Christians, what are we to do? How can we best serve suffering humanity? By following the example of Jesus: “He offered up prayers with loud cries and tears… and he was heard for his piety” (cfr Heb 5:7). Sharing in the mediating role between God and humanity includes the horizontal dimension of entering into man’s suffering by “bearing one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and the transcendental, vertical dimension of offering and lifting them up to God in prayer. It is through our compassion for others’ suffering, by offering and uniting ourselves with them through acts of solidarity and sacrifice, and by prayerfully entrusting these persons to He who alone can heal their situation.
As Christians, both dimensions are essential. One who operates solely on the vertical plane and does not reach out to persons by demonstrating compassion would not be allowing God’s love to manifest itself in a human fashion. But a person who works exclusively at the horizontal level and has no connection to God through prayer, will ever lack the supernatural dynamism of being able to offer something more than oneself, of presenting a Hope that does not fail, of a God who is never absent amidst a person’s suffering and who alone can transform his situation. Our prayer connection with God allows us to “lift up our hearts” no matter how much we may be saddened and weighed down by the burdens of others. It is our prayer connection with God that imbues in us a supernatural optimism that is necessary to have in order to introduce the element of hope to others through our words, gestures, and presence at their most difficult hour.