The Benefits of Writing

Quite a while ago,  I think it might have been Jean who suggested a book to me:  A Path through Loss by Nancy Reeves PhD.   I bought it immediately and started reading it, but life distracted me from getting too far.

The other day I picked it up again and managed to get through the Introduction.  The thing that jumped out at me first was the section:  Benefits of writing where she listed #1:  Writing provides a clear way to see changes, progress, or blocks in your journey.

Funny it should be #1 on her list.  The next time I went to my blog I found an entry from back in December that I hadn’t posted yet because I was still struggling with clarity and the right words.  It had to do with God brings about a greater good.  I knew I’d ranted and written about it before, so I went back and looked and sure enough I must have written like six or eight posts on the subject.  Ah!  A block maybe?

With that little discovery, I decided to tackle the issue, hopefully once and for all by going back to the original source to find where in the Catechism I found the idea that God wouldn’t allow anything to happen where He won’t bring about a greater good.  To my utter surprise and confusion, I couldn’t find the lines I was looking for.  I found similar ideas, but not the words that I’ve been focused on these past three years.

What I was struggling with was the idea that God wouldn’t allow anything to happen where He couldn’t bring about a greater good.   For me the implication was that God would bring about a greater good than Bernadette being here with us and I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that, as previous blog posts will attest to.

What’s interesting is, when I went back to what the Catechism actually says, it says something quite different from what was stuck in my head!!!!!!

[310] But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. 174 But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection. 175

[311] Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. 176 He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:

     For almighty God. . ., because He is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in His works if He were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself. 177

[395] The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.” 275

And there was the ‘block’ though block isn’t nearly strong enough of a word.  Here I was focusing on the word ‘anything’ when the Catechism specifically speaks of ‘evil’.  Evil and anything are two completely different things!!!  Not even close!!

I can totally surrender to the idea that Bernadette’s death was an evil.  That the cancer was a physical evil mentioned above. Even that Satan could have been involved in her death as a means of causing grave injury to us as a family.  What I couldn’t surrender to was that her death was an ‘anything’ God would bring ‘a greater good’ from as if God wasn’t big enough to bring about the greater good without needing her death.  I mean seriously, what kind of a God needs the death of a small child to bring about a good?  If he did, he wouldn’t be God!

I don’t know what I was thinking, I really don’t.  How could I have gotten it so wrong for so long?

The other part that jumped out was that no where in what I quoted from the Catechism did it say ‘a greater good’, it just said ‘to cause good‘.

Therefore, I can finally let this miserable misunderstanding rest in peace, knowing that God isn’t bringing about a greater good than His already incredible blessing of Bernadette in our lives, but that He is going to cause good to emerge from the ‘evil’ of her death; evil being a ‘destructive force of nature’.

I am now ready to be open to whatever good He will cause from the evil of her death.

For the most part I feel extremely foolish to have been struggling with what appears to be a ghost of a saying!  I can’t find it anywhere!  On the other hand, there is an immense sense of relief, reassurance, and gratefulness  that even in all my wrestling with God, He was very patient and blessed me greatly with new glimpses of Himself that I might not have otherwise been open to.  Thank you, Lord!  God is good!!!!

I trust too that He won’t teasingly point out that the truth was right in front of my eyes the whole time.  DEEP SIGH!!!!! ESH.

I can now attest to Nancy Reeves’ forth benefit of writing:  Issues often become clearer when written down ‘in black and white’.  If only I’d taken the time to find the quote I was looking for when this rant first started, I’d have saved myself a lot of time and grief and not needed benefit #3 so much:  Writing your experiences can allow the release of strong emotions.

Hum… how many more miserable misunderstandings am I wrestling with?  Veni Sancte Spiritus…. in Your goodness, enlighten and set me free – please!!!!!





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