Consolatrix afflictorum - miraculous image of Our Lady of Kevalear
My delicate ones have walked rough ways (Bar. 4:26)
Be of good comfort my children....for as the neighbours of Sion have seen your captivity from God, so shall they also shortly see your salvation from God, which shall come upon you with great honour and everlasting glory.
My children, suffer patiently the wrath that is come upon you....for He that hath brought evils upon you shall bring you everlasting joy again with your salvation (Bar. 4: 21, 24, 25, 29)
But there is yet another realm than earth where Mary exercises her power as comforter of the afflicted, and that is in purgatory. Oh, how those poor prisoners must welcome the sight of their august Queen, when from time to time she visits them, bringing consolation and renewed hope in her train! And what can she say to ease these sufferings, the greatest of which must be that of seeing how we have wasted our substance - the many graces bestowed on us - and disappointed the Sacred Heart by not attaining to that perfection and to that degree of glory which He had planned for us, and for which He gave us the means? Well, she can comfort them by putting before them that at any rate their present sufferings will make at least some atonement for the past, and thus they will learn some even to love those grievous torments; while those whose chief pain consists in the sense of loss will be reminded that compared with eternity their sojourn is not for long, and that soon they will be joined to the happy throngs awaiting them in the heavenly kingdom. "Be of good comfort, my children....for as the neighbours of Sion [your eternal home] have now seen your captivity from God, so shall come up you with great honour and everlasting glory." (Bar 4).
But Mary will have more than words to offer these suffering exiles. Can we think she will ever visit them without bringing a royal pardon for many of their number who will follow joyously in her train, speeding aloft towards Him whom they love and to whom their whole beings craves to be united?
And cannot we share in great measures our Mother's office of "Consolatrix Afflictorum"? Surely yes. Let us put self aside and enter lovingly into the sorrows of those around us, consoling, comforting and sympathizing with every form of suffering, no matter whence its source. Be it they have brought it on their own heads, that is no reason for hardening our hearts. Self-condemnation is one of the bitterest forms of trial; let us not add to it by our censoriousness. Who has appointed us to judge over them?
Then again for the souls in purgatory we can do most real work. Has not holy Church placed in our heands the means of paying their debts, giving us they key of the treasury of the Precious Blood, which on easy conditions we can sprinkle broadcast into the fierce flames, assuaging their heat and releasing their prisoners?
Here indeed we can be co-operators with our Mother Mary. Not a day passes but we can put a treasure into the hands with which to ransom those beloved one of God, many of whom we may have known in life, and who must often wonder at our not exerting ourselves more to obtain their release. Could time be better spent than freeing these holy prisoners who will bring immediate glory to God by their praise of Him, and who will surely in their turn not forget us, but will plead our cause before "the great white throne," when our time comes to pay the penalty of our neglect of grace?
Finally.before leaving our Mother Mary, whom we have considering under so sweet and consoling an aspect as that of a universal consoler, let us call to mind that she was privileged to be the comforter of God Himself. Did she not share the griefs of her divine Son, the Man of Sorrows, and by her deep sympathy bring consolation to His Sacred Heart, from Its first pangs of disappointed love in the cave at Bethlehem, when It realized that the creatures for whom He was prepared to do so much cared naught for Him, to Its last sigh on the cross they had prepared for Him? And how she longs for us to imitate her in this loving compassion for the sorrows of the Sacred Heart! "Comfort Him, all you who are round about Him," she whispers; and Jesus, when He sees us approach Him, more full of His griefs and wrongs than our own, will recognize us as true children of Mary, and virtue will go out from Him into our souls, and we shall become more truly His friends than we have hitherto been, for in times of common sorrow hearts become knit together by strong and lasting lies.
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.