It’s funny how sometimes when you have a question the answer isn’t that too terribly far behind! Or at least some possible answers.
Saturday night I posted a few questions: If we can’t blame God when bad things happen (because it wasn’t His fault) then why do we give Him thanks when bad things don’t happen? If it wasn’t His fault that bad things happened, is it to His credit when bad things don’t happen? And if it is, why do bad things happen to some people and not to others. Ok…. I’m adding to the question, but only because I’ve had time to continue to formulate it since Saturday night. Since then I’ve gotten a few responses!
One came this morning from Debbie who happened to find a blog entry by Fr. Mike Schmitz which actually asked the same question.
The other answer came yesterday when it was all quiet around here. Marc and Zoe were both having naps and Catherine was watching a show on Netflix. Because it was Sunday and I don’t write on Sundays except the odd blog entry, I took the opportunity to take a peek at Fr. Groeschel’s book Tears of God that has been sitting on our mantle for months waiting to be returned to John Dawson in Salmon Arm.
Fr. Groeschel said he wrote his book Tears of God
. . . especially for those who are experiencing or have recently experienced horror or catastrophe.
At first I didn’t think that Marc and I fell into that category of horror or catastrophe but he later wrote:
. . . add to them [his list of what fell into the category of catastrophe] the death of small children, whose terminal illnesses are catastrophic. The death of an older person, although it may leave many people deeply saddened, is not usually considered a catastrophe; when the person is the mother or father of small children, however, it deserves that distinction.
He started out in his introduction:
As we prepare to do this [go through the book], it is important to keep in mind that we are created by the all-powerful God to have joy and complete fulfillment. This is what awaits us after the end of this difficult life. Men are enmeshed in what is called, ‘the problem of evil’. Sacred Scripture gives, in a very simple way, the origin of the evils that beset men, descendants of the first parents called Adam and Eve. Why this evil comes down upon us all is completely mystery . . . evil appears to have no answer at all if you do not believe in God and to be very puzzling even if you do.
It seems to me that Christians concentrating on the infinite power and goodness of God often miss the fact that human life is a great battle, as Saint Thomas called it, ‘a strange duel between good and evil.’
We as Catholics accept the idea of Mystery all the time: The Mystery of the Incarnation, The Mystery of the Immaculate Conception, The Mystery of the Trinity. We accept that there are some things revealed to us but really we can’t understand them in this life. And the thought that maybe the question of ‘WHY’ falls into that realm of Mystery was surprisingly comforting. Why does one child fall and walk away unhurt and the next child have the same fall and it’s fatal? Did God intervene so the one child survived but didn’t intervene with the child who died? Was it purely a freak accident? Is there really a Divine plan? Did God’s will come into play? Is He playing favorites? Mystery. God could no sooner help us understand it than He could help us comprehend the Trinity. I guess I just thought that maybe there should be some tangible answer. Maybe the answer is as vast as God Himself. Mystery! And maybe the answer to WHY? just has to wait until we’re in heaven and capable of understanding it.
Fr. Groeschel takes another stab at it when he writes:
People of faith must struggle to bring their catastrophes or even horrors into some kind of relationship with the reassurance of God’s love. The mysterious fact is that dreadful things can happen to the person who has trust in God.
Often there are examples of dreadful things that did not happen, but there are examples of those dreadful things that did happen. The question becomes “Is God playing games with us?” This is where a person of faith must adopt a broad vision. The purpose of this life is not to bring us to permanent happiness here on earth. The question is: What do we see as the purpose of life? For the Christian believer, the purpose of life must be seen as the entrance to eternal life.
And he quotes John 14:1-6.
Looking at it from the perspective of What do we see as the purpose of life? certainly changes it up a little and gives me more to ponder.