I was asked about the work of Mother Teresa and those that are drawn to the "house of the mourning". I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, and one of those being the gift of "Helps", or as the NIV has it - "those able to help others". I have heard it called the gift of mercy or compassion. Certainly it is clarified in Matt. 23:23, "Don't neglect the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness." The importance of mercy is so apparent as not to need any further explanation. Ec. 7:2-4 says - "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."
Interesting scriptures but any person with the gift of "helps", has a heart that resonates with understanding to this passage. I will include a quote that I posted a few years ago and I think it sheds additional light on this.
"Pity is a state of kindness excited by the sight of suffering." H.W. Beecher
Beecher has a way of defining things like few others I know. I have always felt the emotions one feels when sympathizing with a sufferer a very difficult thing to describe. The situations can be so grim but in the midst of it is a longing to be where the suffering abide. When I read this quote "a state of kindness" it seemed so clear to me. Suffering humanity draws out, compels us, to do something kind to that suffering person. Even the most hardened person is drawn into that 'state of kindness' when viewing suffering or sorrow. The 'state of kindness' not only brings consolation to the injured but it is a medicine to us. We are lifted even though we are in the most distressing circumstances. A bitter, sweet frame of mind. I can enter that state when I see dramatic needs, but I suspect the goal is to recognize quiet suffering with more and more sensitivity.
Their is a soul food in all ministry, and surely with those involved in ministries of compassion. So what may seem depressing to some, is life giving to others. I of course think Mother Teresa had this gift with unusual anointing, as the world stood in awe of her faithful imitation of Christ.
I'll insert one other quote from a past post -
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” Helps.
I think this quote relates to the scriptures I first quoted; being with people who are weeping sacred tears, draws us into those holy moments, and we learn there, what can be learned nowhere else.