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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Evil, pain, suffering - how can these be God's will for us?

One most awesome truth, and at times a little unnerving, is that nothing happens to us except that almighty God permits it.

It is a heresy to think that Satan and the rebellious angels exercise runaway power, as though the Creator had lost control over them. Part of the truth is that angels are not changeable as we are - once they make a decision it is final and forever.

While they work against God's will; God is so almighty that He continually extends his power over all the harm they do in order to bring greater good out of it. It helps us in our reflection to remember that our Creator God sustains in existence the whole universe - with its hundreds of billions of galaxies containing hundreds of billions of stars with their countless planets. On a smaller scale, our Creator God sustains each of us and all living things in existence with the breath of life. In a true sense, our every breath is coming to us with vitality from the most Holy Trinity... an awesome and oh so intimate thought.... Into this mind stretching vast scenario enters evil, temptation, sin, pain, and suffering of myriad sorts....

You may not now be suffering anything, dear Reader, or perhaps you are, but it is likely that you have at least at one time suffered. When I who write these thoughts indicate "you", I of course include myself; for we share what we call the human condition. So, whether what has happened to you has simply happened naturally, or whether there came forth any shadows of hell to do you harm, or whether what you suffer is the result of your own human frailty, or a combination of the above; it remains true that God has allowed it to happen and that He fully intends to make use of your suffering to bring about the best for you and for others through you.

It is true for all of us what Saint Paul came to understand as a grace of revelation from the Lord Jesus: what he suffered and what we suffer does indeed complete what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. The human Jesus has finished suffering and is seated at the right hand of the Father, but because He is also Son of God, He unites to Himself in the Holy Spirit all the baptized until the end of the world; so that mystical Body of Christ of which we are a member lives on and is bringing to completion in each of us personally and in all of us together the life which Jesus Himself lived while on Earth.

This is how it happens that all that we live and endure and love acquires infinite value in the collective Body of Christ, who continues his mission to bring the light of the Father's love and the peace of the Holy Spirit to all of mankind in all places and at all times. This is the beauty, value, and significance of the Church of Jesus and its vast and every expanding collective life on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven.

The opportunity we each have at every moment to be aware of these awesome truths, to offer freely and deliberately and generously and confidently to the Father's love our whole hearted consent, and in this way, to allow the Lord Jesus to join us to Himself in an ever increasingly intimate union of mind, heart, body, and soul....

In prayer we visit, as it were, with the three divine Persons of the most Holy Trinity, welcoming them within us and attending to them as we would to the most precious and important guests.... In this way, we renew moment by moment our consent to the Father to bring about in us his most holy will through the action of his beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power, peace, and love of the Holy Spirit.

Peace to you and your family in your ongoing convalescence....

                Pax + Caritas, Fr. Gilles