Comforter of the Afflicted

“Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.” ~Matthew 25:41-46

O’ Comforter of the Afflicted,
Your son taught us how to feed the hungry, visit the sick, and comfort the afflicted.  When I look closer though I see all the prayer, fasting, and suffering that He endured graciously between these heroic acts of charity and virtue.  I tell myself I want to do the same, I tell myself I have done the same when I put my money in the collection basket at church or write that check every month.  Yet, have I really done what He asked of me?  He hasn’t asked me to feed 5,000 men as He did, He hasn’t asked me to raise men from the dead, and He hasn’t asked me to pass the night in prayer.  Instead, He asked me to feed Him when my 3 year-old son came to me, “Daddy, I’m so hungry”.  He asked me to quench His thirst for compassion when the homeless man outside my car window wanted to make eye contact and I looked away.  He asked me to visit Him in sickness when my grandmother was recovering from surgery and I was too busy to pick up the phone and call her.  I suspect I’d rather do all the big gestures, heroic acts, and epic projects instead of the small ones because I don’t receive as much in return.  Mary, I know your Son may call me someday to an epic act of heroism, but I suspect it is more likely all of the small things He asks of me each day that I turn away from would have a far greater impact than that one epic moment.  Please help me to see Christ’s face in the people I encounter everyday, especially those who are suffering.  If I am not paying attention, I will miss the suffering entirely, and the worst part is I’ll miss the opportunity to see His face.  Grant me the humility to accept the small moments to serve Him in small ways, especially those that receive no recognition or praise.  Surely humility is a far greater reward than the emotional consolation of public praise.  Grant me compassion and a charitable heart that I may graciously give of my time to anyone who asks, never for a moment thinking that person isn’t worth my time.  Remind me in those shameful moments of pride that I am not worth God’s time, certainly not worth the suffering your precious Son endured for my salvation.  Yet, He thought me worth the agony.  So much so that not a soul has or will ever be able to lower themselves beneath that of Jesus or you, good Mother.  You showed us the way.  I am weak, I am cowardly, I am not like Him.  Yet, I can be if only I surrender my pride, and accept the tiny crosses with great love.

Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us