Monday, April 15, 2013

A Test of Faith

A horrible bomb attack was carried out today during the Boston marathon event.  The photos are tragic.  Blood splattered everywhere with reported fatalities and maimed victims.  Because this is a developing story, facts are few and unfolding.  I feel the same downcast feeling I felt in September of 2001. Not again, I prayed.

I went to Chapel tonight to say a few prayers for the victims and families.  I sat and thought in silence, "Evil has triumphed again."  I am not ashamed to say that I had asked God, as many people are asking, how can one keep up faith amidst an unrelenting display and seeming triumph of evil in this world?  How can you console the families of those who died? What can you say to them?  How will one comfort someone who lost a limb or is severely disfigured? What answer can one give when confronted by an evil such as this?  Is it enough to remind them that there is a God?  Would it be enough to assure them of a crown waiting for those who endure?  Is it enough to rally them to hope in justice and believe that we will apprehend those who did this terrible crime?

I don't hold any answer.  Religious life does not equip me with the right answers, nor does it give me immunity from asking questions.  But I know this- that God exists, that He loves us, that he cares for us and is not oblivious to what is happening in the world.  I know that He is at work even in chaos and darkness.  Scriptures are full of terrible and sad events- wars, murders, oppression, sins of every kind- and still the goodness and mercy of God were interwoven in the fabric of those very same tragedies.  The Crucifixion of Christ was a horrible event and Jesus died a most painful death, and yet, His death was the most beautiful expression of love and God's triumph over sin and death.

A Christian is not guaranteed answers.  A Christian is called to believe even in darkness and mystery.  A Christian is called to Faith in action, a living Faith that struggles to penetrate the dark, black clouds of darkness, doubts and deeply held questions.  A Christian is called to Hope- that difficult attitude and posture of looking at the silver lining in everything- to have the assurance of things to be.  A Christian is called to Love- to forgive and not just forget.  It is an awesome calling.  But hard as it may be to live up to the challenge, we have no choice.  We say with St. Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You  have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)


  1. In the motion picture Oh God, while this was a comedy, George Burns, playing God coming to earth, made a very poignant and true statement when John Denver’s character asked him a question. John Denver, stating all the chaos that was happening asked, “Why don’t you do something?” Burns answered, “I gave you free will. You can love one another or you can kill one another.” Unfortunately, in this world we have a lot of people that choose evil over good.

  2. We do have free will and the choice of how we will respond to any given situation. We can't control what others do but we can use negative circumstances as opportunities to draw closer to God in our pain and trust Him. We don't understand His ways but I find myself having a better understanding of suffering through my faith. I think we (in the USA) would do better if we were more willing to accept suffering. Our lives on earth are such a small portion of eternity yet we make such a big deal out of every little bit of discomfort, sadness, pain we experience here. Loss of family through death and being maimed or suffering illness are very difficult but we should ask ourselves what they mean in the long run for eternity.