Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction, with the consolation with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in consolation too. If we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our consolation (2 Cor. 1:3-7).

Consolation, by Lora Shelley

Two words are key here: "mercies" and "consolation." Translated more literally, "mercies" is "pities" and "consolation" and "comfort" are both variations of the Greek word paraklEseOs, which, as a noun, means something like "besides calling". The Orthodox Study Bible provides a very good insight on 2 Cor. 1:3-11:

"The source of afflictions is the sin of humanity. The purpose of afflications, if we use them properly, may be our comfort [=calling] and salvation, as the Father Himself preserves us through them (v. 3). The means of facing our afflictions is a hope in God which allows us to enter into the afflictions of others in actual, experiential knowledge... The communion of saints, spiritual solidarity, is to begin now in the pains of this life."  We must learn to use everything to realize our destiny.

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