2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
In one of Graham Greene's novels the hero is talking with his wife about her malicious father, Dr. Fisher. She asks her husband: "Have you a soul?"
"I think I have one — shop worn but still there, but if souls exist you certainly have one."
"Why?" she asks.
"You've suffered," is the only answer she is given.
Graham Greene develops four requirements for living a spiritual life in his novel. Interestingly enough the first is "a willingness to embrace suffering, our own and the world's."
Reflecting on Greene's novel, John Westerhoff explains: "We are surely not to seek suffering or wallow in it, but we are to acknowledge it and live in relationship to it. When we care for someone, we are willing to suffer with that person. To be able to have compassion for another implies that we have experienced suffering."
Prayer: Help us to help each other, Lord, in the bearing of burdens, in the sharing of suffering, in the sympathy of sorrow and so fulfill the law and love of Jesus Christ. Amen.