Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)
Our God is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” according to St Paul – a wonderful image of our Creator. The God of comforts and mercies “comforts us in all our tribulation.” This is the God who is love being Himself. The Lord doesn’t prevent us from experiencing distress, discomfort, disease, rather God uses these sorrowful events to share His love, mercies and comforts with us. We might, at times prefer not to have to experience trouble or tribulation, but St Paul reminds us that it is through these sufferings that we also experience mercy and comfort, in essence we can experience the divine. God comforts us because God is love. God comforts us in order that we might know what comfort and mercy are so that ‘we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.’ We are to be godlike in our treatment of others, especially those suffering and in need of mercy (like the assaulted man that the Good Samaritan treated as his neighbor). God gives us divine comfort so that we can in turn be merciful and comfort others who are in need ‘with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.’
St Maria of Paris writes:
If a merciful man is not higher than his truth, then he is not merciful – that is, a truly merciful man not only gives alms of what is his own, but also joyfully suffers wrongs from others and is merciful to them. He who lays down his soul for his brother is merciful, and not he who shows mercy by giving alms. (MOTHER MARIA SKOVSTSOVA, p 53)
We experience God’s compassion in order to become godlike and express compassion to others who are in need. It is like Pascha night when at midnight the priest comes from the altar with the Paschal candle and that one flame soon illumines everyone’s candles and that light then spreads to the world.