Review article: The Coming of Consolation: How God Gets Through to Us

Toby Terrar

The Coming of Consolation: How God Gets Through to Us, [COC], by William Sampson, first published by Sheed and Ward Ltd. in 1987. Reviewed by Toby Terrar, City University of Los Angeles.

reviewTo celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of its first publication, users of William Sampson's (1928-2000) spirituality book, The Coming of Consolation: How God gets through to Us, [COC], have sponsored its re-publication with a newly added index, short biography and illustrations.1 The book is about his work in the Ignatian-based  retreat movement and in spiritual directing. The reoccurring question Sampson and others posed was, 'How does God get through to us?' His answer was to love and serve the poor and be honest about our failure to do so. Consolation comes to the extent our loving Father wants it to come. He cares for us more than he cares for himself. The poor, not consolation, are the point. Sampson (COC, p. 28) sums up:

Into the despair we experience at our inability to love, comes the Good News. What does the believer believe that makes his life so different from that of the non-believer? What is that fundamental article of faith? The Resurrection? The Trinity? The Incarnation? Not these but this: that the power to love will be given to him when he asks for it. For that is the believing in Christ which the Apostle urges  -  'a faith which works through loving.'

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