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Why it’s impossible to suffer alone

Prayer darkness


Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 09/13/22

He enters into our own suffering. He feels the same pain we do, alongside us.
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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

In the small town of Nain, Jesus encounters the funeral procession of a young man. Behind the coffin walks the distraught mother. She had already lost her husband, and now she has also lost her only son.

This woman represents the personification of human despair. It’s interesting that throughout the Gospel account she does not speak; she says nothing, and asks nothing. This woman is just pure sorrow.

It’s the same thing that happens in life when we experience certain events that take away our reasoning, our words, and even our prayers. We just suffer, with no way out, unable to give even a completed form to our suffering.

Jesus is struck by her suffering:

“When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’”

We know that a moment later he will raise her son, but I think we need to pay attention to an even more important miracle: Jesus does not remain indifferent to this woman’s pain.

Each one of us should know this: Jesus does not close his eyes and heart to what we experience, to what causes us to suffer. He is vulnerable to what we go through; he has decided to feel it too.

In his compassion, he enters into our own suffering. He feels the same pain we do, alongside us.

But his compassion also means knowing how to curb our suffering: “Don’t cry!” And it also involves having the power to alleviate our misfortune in a radical way:

“He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you, arise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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