February 2015

In recent months many people all over the world have been victims of various conflicts and catastrophes.  Also closer to home there are surely people who had to face disastrous situations.  Such afflictions inevitably give rise to questions. The reflex action of many may be indifference, to protect themselves from suffering.

Our faith helps us assuredly to endure such calamity.  Nevertheless, it does not give us the answer to all the questions that are posed. To dismiss these events simply as a sign of our times would be inappropriate, disrepectful even, in view of the suffering that previous generations had to endure.  The fact that we are better informed through today's media than was possible in earlier times does not mean that the afflictions are worse now than then.  Besides, I would remind you that our faith in the imminent return of the Lord is not based on an interpretation of signs but on the Lord's promise and on the activity of the Holy Spirit.

Simply to ascribe conflicts and catastrophes to Satan would be too simplistic.  Certainly, evil, personified by the Devil, is a destructive force set against mankind and God's creation (cf. CNC 4.1).  But it would not be appropriate to maintain that climate catastrophes and earthquakes are caused by Satan himself!  We surely have to recognize that human beings, through their own actions, are responsible for many of the ills.

Let us act wisely and not try to explain everything.  With his understanding alone man can grasp neither God's work nor the origin of evil.  Let us not try to explain evil as such.  What is important for mankind is that we attain salvation, in spite of all of the evil!

Let us not give up or lapse into indifference.  Where the love of Christ dwells in our hearts empathy is not too heavy a burden.  Whoever suffers along with his neighbour suffers with Christ and can say with Paul:  "And our hope for you si steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation." (2 Cor 1: 7).  In our intercession for the departed let us concentrate on the love of God and the salvation which He offers.  Then our intercession will be a help to the departed and a blessing for ourselves.