Besides the consolations that the heart of a priest finds in the church, there is also much good to do by visiting homes, going from one hut to another, almost all of them filled with poor unfortunates who can hardly drag themselves around, as often their hands and feet have been eaten away by this horrible disease. They are condemned to breathe foul air. Ordinarily they listen with great attention to the word of salvation which I share with each one according to their disposition (St. Damien in a letter to his superior in August 1873)

Fr. Damien was a compassionate man whose heart was deeply touched by the plight of the lepers he served. He knew that he could not cure them as Christ was able to do, but he was determined to bring them solace and consolation through the Sacraments and the Word of God. Bernard Poggi writes: It is not a superficial care which Fr. Damien provides, rather he sees himself as the consoler by the Holy mysteries which he is able to provide.Our missionary priestwas careful to treat each person as a complete individual, sharing those Gospel passages which he felt would encourage them and give them hope. He relied on the Holy Spirit to assist him in this ministry.

worship_3529c.jpgThe Holy Spirit will come to our aid as well.He is ourAdvocate, one who pleads on our behalf.He will teach, counsel, and bring the truth into our lives. The third person of the Holy Trinity has also been called Love personified between the Father and Son, and as such He is our Consolation. When we have dark days before us He prays for us when we are unable to, sharing our grief with "groans too deep for words" (Romans 8:26). The Spirit is able to search our hearts,and Hewill "intercede for us according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27); Heis ourdearest and mostsoothing Comforter because he knows us through and through.

As the saying goes, when life brings you to your knees you are in the best position to receive help. Pray, and ask the Holy Spirit for his loving consolation.

St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!