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Prayer vigil “to dry the tears” prompts reflection on one of the most neglected works of mercy

“To dry faces streaked with the tears of a physical or spiritual suffering, bringing consolation and hope”, this is the purpose of Prayer Vigil “Dry the tears”, presided over by Pope Francis on May 5 at 6:00 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. All those who are experiencing inner suffering will thus receive spiritual relief.

Exhibitionism? Rhetoric? Unquestionably, some voices will be raised like opposing winds in a sunny day. But whoever is sincere and true to himself will admit that suffering has weighed on his existence.

The consoling aspect hereby proposed doesn’t experience the aftertaste of assuaging for reasons of peace of mind, to keep problems aloof, even distancing all those considered boring for reiterating their suffering, whether supposed or veritable pain.

Consoling doesn’t mean squaring the circle, eliminating the shield covering the soul, it means “togetherness”, expressed in “being with” and “consoling”, namely, to “comfort.” It means to be near, to be able to listen, that entails empathy and understanding, which far from grasping and dominating includes intuition and participation.

It means emerging form our shell, from the carapace in which we seek refuge when something has hurt us, clouding our mind and closing our hearts. Getting out not to disseminate, or to overtly publicize, but to communicate to a friend how oppressive it is, and that sometimes the best option is to break out in tears.

Francis has wanted to reach out with prayer, that is, with everyone’s open hearts, to the redeeming irruption of God in the lives of each one of us to concretize

one of the works of mercy that is probably the most neglected one, precisely because it is the most difficult one.

Witnessing someone else’s tears can be embarrassing, and we risk expanding their wounds, it means learning about their weakness, which perhaps they wanted to keep private.

But if those tears are shared, a new friendship will be created, representing a driving force to progress in life. It is a great gift that can grow into an every greater, deeper gift, which extends beyond all limits enshrined in human nature.

How could we forget the tears shed by the Holy Virgin Mary, as we recall the Passion of the Son. We can all identify with her pain, with that agony.

It is not a creative fantasy to believe that all the tears shed by us human persons across the centuries were merged in the redeeming suffering of a Woman, just like us, capable of receiving the mystery of a God made Man, put to death like an ordinary convicted criminal.

To identify and recognise ourselves in this pain makes us siblings, allowing us to view with a pure and purified glance the other person’s pain, in order to become that person’s vital support, as barefoot pilgrims who don’t hesitate to donate the little they have to make the first step, in order not to remain isolated and closed in.

The shared efforts become a driving force, triggering a hope that opens up to the mystery of a God that is not the unperturbed, Motionless Engine that looks down to us from the Empyrean, enjoying his tranquillity, projecting a sterile wait on the world, harbinger only of death and fatigue.

Our God is Merciful, the God that has a womb and bears life. The God that is vulnerable to the pain and suffering of His creatures and want to partake in it: for God weeps with us when we are writhing pain.

We have not been abandoned, thrown into time and history, as stray objects which can be hit by misfortune and by devastatingly negative events at any given moment in time. We are persons engendered to life, and step by step, experience after experience, we can open up to the knowledge and the participation of the All-Merciful who suffers with us, sharing our affliction, because He lets His Creating Love partake in our same pain. The All-Merciful didn’t hesitate to donate himself in his Crucified Son, with his arms open to embrace the whole universe.

Nobody is excluded. It is a question of recovering the meaning of life, of not losing ourselves completely. It is a risk that being lost entails, but not necessarily.

On the painful steps steeped in tears, mutual support, communicated certainties that have been deeply experienced, of the Presence of the Almighty, constitute a corroborating nourishment.

Extending our glance so that we shall not close our hearts and let them decay. The soil that shaped us can be wet with our tears and become a fertile humus, open to receive the Spirit that descends like healing dew.

Only then will the suffering of the tears we shed transfigure the wound capable of donating joyful Light to mankind.

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