Friday, June 19, 2009

Why Does God Let Us Suffer?

A snippet from Homilies and Reflections from Australia.

Death was never God's plan for us, and neither was its prelude, suffering.
As the first reading tells us: Death was not God's doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living ... it was the devil's envy that brought death into the world ...

Both suffering and death entered the world because mankind, through the temptation of the devil, turned away from God and this turning away had dire consequences, one of the worst of which was that we refuse to take responsibility for our sin.
So we blame everyone except ourselves – [Adam] replied, 'It was the woman you put with me….' and [Eve] replied, 'The serpent tempted me …'. (Genesis 3:12)

From Most Rev. Michael Sheehan
Archbishop of Santa Fe

People often turned away from God in anger when terrible suffering comes into their lives.
How can a good God allow the innocent to suffer?
A seemingly healthy young mother is cut down by cancer.
A young child dies in an auto accident.
An honest, hardworking business man watches his business collapse.
A marriage, once considered ideal, ends in divorce; the children angry at both parents and God.
How do we make sense out of the suffering these tragedies cause?

The answer to human suffering is not an easy one.
Every person will undergo a certain amount of pain in his life.
Some more than others.
How, then are we to deal with it?
Our choices are only two: become bitter and angry, asking, "Why me?" or accept the suffering with faith, courage and dignity.

We will never fully understand the meeting of suffering in this life.
Suffering is a mystery.
We do know that God does not want us to suffer.
Rather, he allows suffering because it is a part of the material world in which we live. Christ stands ready, however, to help us cope with the pain and suffering that come our way.
The suffering of Jesus - his passion and death - was redemptive suffering.

In some mysterious way our sufferings can be seen as God's invitation to enter into communion with Christ's sufferings and, in fact, contribute to the redemption of the world.

The Catholic teaching on the paschal mystery says we should enter into the sufferings of Jesus so that we also may participate in his resurrection; gaining peace here and eternal life hereafter.
Our sufferings can have meaning if we bear them with dignity; join them to those of Christ; and, offer them for a particular intention, such as comfort for persons dying of AIDS and other terrible diseases or for people who have neither hope nor anyone to love them.

We should, obviously, use every appropriate remedy in order to find a solution for the suffering.
Modern medicine, for example, can take away much physical pain.
Ultimately, though, some suffering is inescapable; and our faith in God is essential if we are to deal with it through acceptance and courage rather than bitterness and anger.

In dealing with suffering it is important to remember that God's ways are not our ways.
He will answer our prayers for help.
Oftentimes, however, he answers in a way that is better than any solutions we may have had in mind.

For more reasons why God allows suffering, go HERE.

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