Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her -- that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom.
For thus says the Lord: “I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants.”
“I want my mommy!”
You know this phrase. Many of us have had the experience of being with a child, yours or someone else’s, who has cried out this phrase because they were hurt or angry or sad. Regardless of the emotion behind the outburst, the remedy they seek is comfort. And in that moment the only human being that could possibly give comfort is “mommy”. Great healing comes from the comfort of a mother’s hug! The prophet Isaiah draws on this maternal sense of comfort to remind us of the goodness of our God and to rejoice in it: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” That’s worthy of rejoicing! Being comforted is a good thing. Being able to give comfort is also a really good thing. I am blessed to be godmother to several children. When I am able to give any one of them a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent to, a hug to warm a broken heart, or simply a smile that says, “You got this!” I am able to give them comfort. Seeing the ease come upon them—knowing that I played a small part in making that happen—makes me feel like a superhero. Being able to give someone else comfort is a super power!
"I came to understand that the ability to care and show compassion in very challenging situations, was a gift of the Holy Spirit and truly a super (natural) power."
As a hospital chaplain, I was often called upon to offer comfort in very uncomfortable situations. During these difficult moments there were many times that I was the one saying, “I want my mommy!” But at same time, God was giving me the opportunity to hone this “super power.” I came to understand that the ability to care and show compassion in very challenging situations, was a gift of the Holy Spirit and truly a super (natural) power. The ability to walk with someone through suffering and hardship is a gift and a privilege. It reminds me of our humanness and that in that humanness we are in such great need of God, the ultimate comforter.
Yet, we were not made for comfort but rather for greatness, as Pope Benedict Emeritus is often quoted as writing in one encyclical or another. So really, God made us to be super heroes! Not necessarily ones with tights and a cape—that outfit really doesn’t work for everyone. God made us with great capacity; with super powers to help each other be better and in turn make our world better. When we experience God’s comfort—be it through a stranger, a friend, or mommy, we know and understand what it feels like to be comforted and thus develop in ourselves the ability… no… the super power to comfort others. Encountering God’s comfort, like any personal encounter with God, changes us. When we witness this change to others then, as Isaiah said, “it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants.” So get out there and be the superhero God made you to be!