Heaven and Earth: The Necessity of Suffering


#1

As a parent of a child with autism, I’ve found it to be increasingly hard to assist and help him. He really has many things that he has difficulty with, things which most parents seem to take for granted. As he’s gotten older, I’ve had a harder time reconciling his struggles with God’s plan.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe in God. I understand all the arguments in favor of his eternal and omnipotent benevolence and the general necessity of suffering in consequence to Adam’s orginal sin leading toward salvation in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. I understand that free-will is neccessary for people to truly develop into a truly loving relationship with God and that without it would be nothing nmore than automations. And I believe the Catholic Church, The Church which I belong to, to be Christ’s Church here on earth.

I have no problems with any of these and believe them without a doubt. This is not a trolling argument.

But there’s still one thing that I simply do not understand regarding one argument which posits the necessity of the nature of suffering.

I’ve heard it argued before that suffering is a necessary part of life because without out it we would effectively be like spoiled children not truly loving God out our own free-will. In short, it’s been positted that only by experiencing this suffering can we truly know God. I’ve even heard it argued that it would be evil if God did not allow this to come to pass.

But then, if this is true, why is there no suffering or pain in the new heavens and new earth?

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Does anyone see what I mean?

If indeed pain and suffering are truly necessary for one’s growth in God, then why will there be no suffering in the new heavens and new earth? How can we grow in God without this in the hereafter?

I understand that we will have bypassed the drudge and toil of this sin-tainted creation when the new creation unfolds in the beautific vision as we go to be with our Lord.

But why would God create something less than perfect when perfection already exists.

I apologize in advance if I’ve offended anyone. I’m just really having trouble understanding the full implications of why Blake has to go through what he’s going through-- and the full nature of extreme suffering for those in this life who live in the less than favorable conditions of illness and even poverty.

This part just makes no sense to me.

If I’m understanding these things correctly, then heaven, where no pain or suffering exists, would be evil??? :confused:

This make no sense to me. Therefore I ask you my brothers and sisters in Christ to help me with this. Help me to understand this. Please pray for me because I’m really having a hard time accepting God’s grace regarding my son’s autism as he gets older. It just seems so pointless to me. :frowning:


#2

While we’re on earth we all constantly need to be perfected in our love and grace - suffering is an important part of this. So important that, if we aren’t sufficiently perfected by it on earth, we are subject to even more in Purgatory to further do so.

In heaven we ARE (will be) perfect, since nothing imperfect enters God’s presence. No need for further perfecting.

Think of it as being like a jeweller’s work - he’ll spend hours with a raw gemstone grinding away at it, cutting and polishing it just so, to make it shine with its utmost brilliance. Then comes the time when his work is finished. He puts away his tools and is simply content to hold the sparkling gem in his hands and drink in its beauty.


#3

I pray for you and your son!

Although this is a long document by the Pope on redemptive suffering I think it will help.

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_11021984_salvifici-doloris_en.html

God bless you :slight_smile:


#4

Dear Mr. Ex Nihilo,

My heart goes out to you. I will pray for you and your dear son, Blake.

I don’t think that the explanation of suffering that you were told is the best. God does not want us to suffer eternally. But He made us in order to allow us to suffer temporarily so as to love Him and our fellow creatures to a greater degree than if we had never fallen.

Think of the love a husband must have for his bride. When his love is the most intense, he desires to love her so much that he wants to take pain for her. Therefore, Jesus’ suffering on the cross is the ultimate expression of human sexuality: an orgasm of PAIN.

God’s Love was so unbounded that, from all eternity, He Loved so much that He wanted to suffer for His creatures who would insult him. Therefore, the orgasm of pleasure in the marital act is ultimately fuflilled in the Crucifixion: God progressively pouring out pain that climaxes in the ultimate agony:

“My God, my God, why have you foresaken me.”

“It is finished!”

“Father, into Thy Hands, I commend My Spirit!”

The pain you endure for your dear son is most certainly greater than his. The Virgin knows what this is like to the ultimate. The Most Loving and Perfect Human Being, being Fully God, she carried in her womb and taught Him, and was taught by Him, then, she had to watch Him die the worst death.

But in the piercing of her soul, the greatest graces for parents who must bear to watch their children suffer were merited.

Jesus and Mary are fully with you, and your suffering is not wasted. In all the love you pour out upon Blake, your dear son, and the pain that pierces your heart is not wasted. Your sufferings and his are precious and, if you offer them up to Jesus and Mary, they will merit graces for the conversion of sinners. It is our little sufferings that will help to bring back Catholic Christendom, to restore humanity to faith, at least before the final end.

I think that is why us children of Mary suffer more. For if we do not offer sufferings for sinners, who will?

I will say prayers right now that Jesus and Mary pour out their love and comforting arms upon you and let you know that they are with you every step of the way. Your sufferings are the treasure this world cannot see.

:gopray2:


#5

As a parent of a child with autism, I’ve found it to be increasingly hard to assist and help him. He really has many things that he has difficulty with, things which most parents seem to take for granted. As he’s gotten older, I’ve had a harder time reconciling his struggles with God’s plan.

I heard it said once that parents of children with severe disabilities can take comfort in knowing that they are raising future saints for God. I don’t know much about autism, but the few things I’ve read seem to indicate that a child with such impairment would be practically incapable, if not completely incapable, of mortal sin. If that were the case, a parent might be consoled by the promise that their child’s place in heaven is secure.

I’ve heard it argued before that suffering is a necessary part of life because without out it we would effectively be like spoiled children not truly loving God out our own free-will. In short, it’s been positted that only by experiencing this suffering can we truly know God. I’ve even heard it argued that it would be evil if God did not allow this to come to pass.

I think this explanation is lacking. Remember, our first parents were given a perfect world. In Genesis, we are told that Adam and Eve walked in the Garden with God. We are told that they were given everything they could ever want or need, and more, because they were actually in the presence of their Creator. They enjoyed a friendship with Him. Because of their pride, selfishness, envy, and greed, they chose to disobey His only commandment so that they too could “be like God”.

We did not have suffering when we were created. It entered into our world with the fall of our first parents.

But God, because of His great love for us, extracts from our suffering what is redemptive and good. In the post tsunami suffering, we saw a swell of mercy from the global human community. 9/11 sent millions of people flooding into churches all across the country. Katrina compelled regular folks to become heroes.

Mother Theresa, in her recently published letters, suffered mightily through the darkness in her soul. She used that suffering as an offering to God for the conversion of sinners. As a result (and completely unbeknownst to her), millions have been touched and some even converted by the sacrifice and offering she made of her suffering.

But then, if this is true, why is there no suffering or pain in the new heavens and new earth?

Because we are returning to our perfect home. Because, as St. Paul tells us, we have finished the race. Because, despite the sins of our first parents, we chose God and tried to lead virtuous lives while here, following the examples set for us by Christ.

If indeed pain and suffering are truly necessary for one’s growth in God, then why will there be no suffering in the new heavens and new earth? How can we grow in God without this in the hereafter?

If we are to continue to grow in heaven (and I don’t know that this is even a necessary part of our eternal life), it would be a process not bound by our human concepts or experiences. In the presence of the Divine, suffering can not exist so if more growth is needed, it would be done through perfect love.

How about if I quote St. Paul?

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.


#6

CS Lewis once wrote that he thinks there must be something like pain in heaven.

He based this on the apparent fact that some of the most wonderful experiences are so wonderful only in contrast to something less wonderful.

Example: There is just something exquisitely refreshing about cool water if you are, in fact, quite thirsty. The water is good even if you aren’t very thirsty, but it is fantastic if you are.

Another example…I always tell dh that everything tastes better at camp. Even slightly burned on campfire food tastes wonderful when you’re hot, sweaty, and hungry.

Another example. Who doesn’t love a good massage, especially when the back muscles are just a little sore.

Many things that we humans do for fun are likely to cause some kind of discomfort. Sports can cause sore muscles. But don’t muscles that are just a little sore also feel more alive?

If the earthly life is just a shadow of heavenly life, and we will have glorified bodies, there’s no reason to think that we won’t experience something like this. Notice I did not give any examples of extreme pain. That would Not be heaven.


#7

I don’t have much time time but we also need to look towards Christ and the Passion that he endured out of love for us. It is said that Christ transformed suffering into an act of love and death, which used to be an end of things, into life.

I wish I could say more - I have to get to Mass. I’ll hop back online later.


#8

I just wanted, first of all, thank LilyM, ryanoneil, spauline, blessedtoo, dranzal, & Gizmo for replying. I’ve read many of your posts before, especially LilyM’s and spauline’s posts, and have always appeciated the time and thoughtfulness placed into them.

I guess I just wanted to clarify one thing in regards to suffering. It’s not so much that I think redemptive suffering is wrong. I actually do understand how sharing in Christ’s suffering can bring about redeeming qualities by the Holy Spirit. Ryanoneil’s link to the Vatican website really captures what I (we) all believe and I accept this aspect without question.

For example, the man going through remptive suffering within God’s refiner’s fire as found within Malachi 3:2 strongly points toward how we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

What my questions is directed toward is the necessity of suffering. The way it is sometimes phrased it appears as if we could not have achieved perfection without suffering, as if we could not know what good is without suffering to contrast it against what is good. I disagree with that assertion and it’s the one thing that’s giving me real trouble.

In other words, if someone tells me that suffering is a natural consequence of Adam’s sin– and that enduring this suffering by God’s grace we can partake in the beautific vision of heaven, then I have no problem. In this sense, it appears that suffering did not “have to” happen but was rather a natural outcome of humanity’s fall which we are all sojourning through until perfection is achieved through Christ.

However, if someone tells me that suffering “had to” happen in order for us to know what good is, then I am strongly against this position. I think it’s well known that someone can easilly know what good is without experiencing evil to contrast it against, even if they don’t necessarilly expess in words that it is good. God the Father apparently does know what good is without experiencing evil (even though God the Son did experience evil’s tempatation and suffering). More specifically, however, I think that good can be known without suffering-- which is exactly what the passage from the apocalypse indicates…

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

And this brings me back to my own problem’s when facing the trials that my son has been going through.

Why is he going through this when something so much better could happen?

I sometimes draw comfort from John 9:3 which states…

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

But I will note that, to be honest, I’ve found that over this last year my patience seems to be dwindling considerably. My sense of humor seems to be waning. I’ve had less and less patience when speaking to others who hold different opinions than my own. And I have to confess that I’m really starting to despise his handicap which causes him (and our family) so much frustration. Indeed, it seems as though all things that we’ve tried to help him have failed miserably – which makes me feel like a failure – and I’m increasingly noticing that this suffering is not producing perseverance in me; neither perseverance, nor character; and neither character or hope.

The position that I’m currently at is that God seems determined to allow my son, regardless of what I do or don’t do, to suffer for reasons that are simply outside my ability to control-- which seems cruel, distant and hearltess to me. I’m at a serious roadblack here. I need something more to know that God really is interveening by his grace out of love to correct something that went wrong and not that he has simply stood by and allowed this suffering to occur because it had to happen this way.

The former position I can handle, because it places the blame on humanity and regards the pain as redemptorive insofar as one attaches their suffering to Christ on the cross. But the later position seems desplorable to me, utterly heartless without a shred of compassion to be found.


#9

I agree with all these things LilyM. :slight_smile:

My question is not so much what suffering accomplishes when joined with Christ. I have no arguments against the effectiveness of suffering and you will find an ally in defence of this position with me.

My question is more directed toward why suffering had to happen in the first place. This is the point of contention for me, since, at least on the surface, it doesn’t appear as if it had to happen in order for us to know what good is.

This comes back to the passage found in the apocalypse. Those within God’s beautific vision will certainly know what good is (since being in God’s presence places us within the presence of the very essence of all this is good) without experiencing pain or suffering-- so why is it so integral to our development here on earth?

This is the part that, when facing Blake’s sufferings, I simply don’t understand.

Saint Augustine once wrote…

Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation.

This is where I’m sitting at right now, meditaing on these thoughts trying to discern exactly what’s going on. I understand that the question of suffering has been debated for many thousands of years, more espcially over the last 2000 years since the emergence of our Christian faith, and will simply not be solved in this thread. But I am hoping to understand the “why” better.

My own thoughts have led me toward a general apathy toward the Lord’s will in recent months. It’s not that I do not believe. I most certainly do. If I am to confess my sins, it’s more of a lack of trust that he will comfort us in these times than anything else. In this sense, I think it’s worse than unbelief because I do believe but my implicit trust has been sorely compromised (or tested) and therefore I am simply “hiding my treasures in a dungeon” so to speak.

I need to know why this is going on when something so much better could be.


#10

This was a good link Ryan. Thank you for posting that.

What I haven’t been able to find, hovever, is the reference to why suffering has to happen in order for us to know what good is. This seems to be hinted at but more or less kind of missing within Catholic thought as far as I can tell.


#11

Thank you spauline. And, in case I forgot to mention this, this is probably the most important part of my request. It’s not so much that I need to understand (although this is very important) as more to be at peace with God regarding Blake’s condition-- and, most especially for Blake to be at peace with his own self and God.

There are nights when he is crying and I cannot figure out what is actually bothering him. At these times I am trying to discern whether he is in pain, or if he just rebelling against authority, or if he just isn’t tired, or whether he just needs to go to the bathroom and feels uncomfortable. The degree of crying is diferent. But sometimes it’s extremely hard to tell and I just find it so hard to listen to him cry and not know how to help him. And when I reach out to him, he pushes away, since he is senstive to touch during these times. Even mywords do nothing to soothe him.

It’s during these times that I can’t help but think of the Scriptures…

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

I’ll note the passage does not pertain to Blake in the sense that he is willingly rebelling in a “sinful” way as far as I can tell in most situaitons. He is simply unable to do some things and cannot be compared at all to those who would kill the prophets.

Rather, I’m reminded of the longing that God himself feels when he holds his hand out and waits patiently for his children to come to him. I’ve just reached out so much to Blake and he is just so hard to draw into this world.

At other times, I’m reminded of King David’s words…

O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!

Again, as blessedtoo alluded, Blake is not sinful, so the comparison is not to deride my son’s autistic behaviours in contrast to Absalom’s willfull rebellion. Rather, I am reminded of these words in the context of Kind David longing for his son to return to him.

I think Kind David holding out his hand for Absalum is much like God holding his hand out for his children who rebel against him, like how Paul was shown mercy so that in him, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Maybe this is why God said of David, “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”

I’ve really reached out to him, whether by teaching, or cleanliness, or teaching how to use words, only to be rejected time and time again. I understand it’s not really it’s his fault. But it’s just hard to really grasp sometimes.

Anyway, again, I’m not trying to gather sympathy. I’m just really trying hard to understand this and be at peace with him. I’m looking to find strength in God at this time.

[quote=spauline]I don’t think that the explanation of suffering that you were told is the best. God does not want us to suffer eternally. But He made us in order to allow us to suffer temporarily so as to love Him and our fellow creatures to a greater degree than if we had never fallen.
[/quote]

I think you’ve really nailed my question well with this observation.

Is it truly necessary for this suffering to have occured?

I understnad that without freewill it would be impossible to freely and truly be led by the Holy Spirit toward God. But I guess my question is, “Is freedom really that important when contrasted against the pain that occured due to other’s refusal to obey God?”

The whole landscape of human history seems to be one massive sin lodged against the human race by the adversary (going against God’s will) so that humanity will know God more deeply.

Why is that so?

I know that some people quibble about the unfairness of life, but I’m not interested in this and understand that life is simply not fair-- and we need to grasp this and accept this before we can mature. And whether we like it or not we must endure these things regardless of whether it is considered fair or not. The only thing in this life that will be fair will be God’s judgement of us after our lives are over in contrast to what has been revealed to us in this life.

But did it have to be this way in light of the passages from the apocalypse which indicates that we will love God more deeply after this life is over when there is finally no suffering or pain?

This is the part I simply cannot grasp at this point. And my heart is aching over this.


#12

Thank you spauline. :slight_smile:


#13

Dear Ex Nihilo,

My heart really goes out to you. And in effect, this is not a question, it is just the heart of all us, who ask “why?”. But it is not a question. It Jesus on the cross “My my, God, why have you foresaken me?” It is really a question that burns in those who suffer for something that is not their fault.

Your son does not deserve his pain, and the anguish you feel you do not deserve. Why do the innocent suffer? It is more than a question, it is a cry of the heart. For animals experience pain, but they do not suffer.

All I can say is, Mr. Ex Nihilo, I will pray for you. I currently have a cold and will offer part of it up for you and your dear son. Part of the cross is that we help one another carry our crosses. In carrying crosses, there is opportunity to help our dear brothers and sisters carry their crosses.

Right now I have alot of stress and my cold. I will offer these up for you and your dear son. For this I find beautiful. Jesus was God, he could have used his Divine Power to carry the cross further, but He allowed a beautiful creature of his to help him. I find that beautiful.

All I can say is, my heart goes out to you and your dear son, and I will offer my current sufferings for you in this time of pain. I desire to help you carry your cross, a cross that is meaningless to the world, but is priceless to Jesus.

In this world, we don’t have all the answers, but we have this one answer, the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again.

We don’t have specific answers to our detailed pains, but we have a general mystery. Christ has died (the darkness speaks), Christ is Risen (the light speaks). From great evil, God draws an even greater good.

Yes, human history is filled with misery and pain. But already now, six great darknesses have been answered by six great lights. We are now in the seventh darkness, but the light to come will be the greatest within human history, the imperfect sabbath. Your suferrings and your son’s are not in vain.

That God was able to have mercy on us is a greater joy than if we had never sinned. God did not want our fall either as an end, nor as a means to an end, but he foresaw and allowed it in order that he might draw a greater good, and that is to have mercy on us, but also to give redemptive power to our sufferings. NOT that all our sufferings are because we have sinned, but so that those who do not deserve their sufferings might offer them up for others in love.

I wish I could say more, but I have to go. I will lift you up and offer what little pathetic sufferings I have, which dwindle in comparison to yours, to help you carry your precious cross.

I pray that Jesus and Our Lady’s Hearts stay one with thine.

Scott


#14

[/FONT][FONT=Arial]Excerpts from HEALING POWER OF SUFFERING


#15

you are welcome, my dear brother. :slight_smile:


#16

I think this more readilly addresses my questions regarding suffering. I’d warrant that somehow there is free-will in heaven to make choices. But I do not believe there will be suffering in the same sense as we see within our temporal existence.

For example, death, I believe, really will be done away with as the “final enemy” is vanquished for example.

Other things, however, I would think could possibly still happen. Not necessarilly anything painful. But I think we may still be able to make mistakes for example. I really don’t know so I’m trying to understand this better.

When I suggest that we can make mistakes, I’m not suggesting mortal or even venial sins, since even venial sins will be wiped clear in the final purification.

But it may yet be found that other genuine mistake might be possibly be able to be made, such as misunderstanding something. My only note is that, if this were the case (and I actually doubt that we can make mistakes when in God’s presence), they would only be minor mistakes. In this sense, if true, then God would certainly be active to the point that he doesn’t allow the mistake to become a sin and stop someone before the sin is performed (or even perceived).

In this sense, within heaven anyway, I think we would have freedom, but only the freedom to do that which is good. Having only the infinite number of good choices when gazing within the beautific vision, the ability to sin would be haulted completely, perhaps even completely erasing the knowledge of evil from the mind of the individual maybe, just as the Scriptures suggest. I really don’t know.

Likewise, I have wondered if handicapped people will still be handicapped in heaven. Perhaps at least some of the things that we see as sinful or evil in this world is the product of the original sin, not beng able to properly discern what is actually good and what is evil. Perhaps our perceptions in heaven will be so clear and conscise that we will no longer make errors in judgement regarding what is good and evil, like the religious leaders did when they assumed that the child’s parents must have sinned for the child to suffer.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Perhaps in heaven there will be a superabundance of goodwill at work that things normally associated with a “handicap” in this limited world will be considered a blessing in the hereafter giving all a chance to help others (and never failing at this task since God is directly present). Perhap we will revere the things which we have taken for “weakness” within this sin-tainted creation and understand that God has always been using these things all along to strengthen us in ways that we cannot even imagine yet.

Regardless, there really will be no pain or suffering in heaven as far as I understand. This much seems clear.


#17

There’s been a few article’s that I’ve come across fairly recently.

One of them is Meghan’s miracle – Autistic artist breaking of silence fulfills promise, a very interesting account of one young woman’s emergence from the world of autism via the paintings she does.

Another one that I read was For Catholic with autism, before the words came, there was music.

In both accounts, it appears they simply accepted there children where they were, would be with them, and enjoyed them and gradually brought them over into “our world”.

Is is possible that this is what God is doing with us. Are we all like autistic children in God’s eyes, severely limited in our understanding, crying, kicking, screaming, not able to verbalize what we need to say-- but with God nonetheless reaching out and listening to us anyway.

I’ve sometimes wondered about the passage in Romans 8 which talks about the Holy Spirit speaking on our behalf before the Father through Christ.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.


#18

I read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 and had a few thoughts.
I’m going on a hunch here, and am only speculating for lack of real understanding. Is it possible your son is similair to the man who in or out of the body was caught up in paradise? As to any consciousness of being in it, he heard things which men in the body were not capable of entering into, and which it was not fitting that a mortal man should declare, which the mode of being of a man in the body could not admit.

Is it possible the pain associated with touch brings him back to an awareness of the body? I’m not very familiar with autism, but have alway got the impression that they are seeing things of a spiritual nature. A vision perhaps. That they somehow have a special connection with God.

Like I said this is purely speculation on my part and I’m not suggesting this scripture should be interpreted that way. I may be way off. Could you possibly be like St. Paul given a thorn in the flesh? Does verse 10 apply in anyway?

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I hope I’m not sticking my foot in my mouth :shrug:

Peace be with you

Ryan :slight_smile:


#19

Your eloquent and heart-breaking questions make me think of another great and noble man: Job.

If you haven’t REALLY read the brilliant and ultimate book on suffering, I suggest you do. It made all the difference for me as I struggle to deal with a chronic and painful disease that to me, seems completely unnecessary.

I am nearly finished reading the new book of Mother Theresa’s letters. “Come Be My Light” addresses many of these same questions in ways I have never considered before. For example, after a decade of M. T.'s suffering in spiritual darkness, her spiritual advisor finally realized that this was not God’s attempt to purify her, for she was truly as pure as humanly possible by this time. Instead, he believed that God had drawn her so close to Him that He was actually allowing her to SHARE in His suffering, in Christ’s pain and Passion. She herself stated that she was so close to His cross that the thorns of His head and the nails in His feet would have to cause her pain.

In other words, if someone tells me that suffering is a natural consequence of Adam’s sin– and that enduring this suffering by God’s grace we can partake in the beautific vision of heaven, then I have no problem.

This is indeed the Church understanding of suffering.

However, if someone tells me that suffering “had to” happen in order for us to know what good is, then I am strongly against this position.

This is not the Church understanding of suffering.

Our first parents were given everything they needed to live in friendship with God in a world free of suffering and pain. They decided they knew better than their Creator and chose to do it their way. It’s not so hard to imagine, really. Everything in God’s natural world exacts a consequence of some sort. Good actions bring forth good results. Actions that contradict His law written on the heart of every man generally bring forth unpleasant consequences. No different from Adam and Eve. We still continue to repeat this first sin, all throughout human history until the present day. While we have the stunning and obvious example of how rejecting God’s plan will cause tremendous pain and suffering, still we remain blinded by pride and selfishness. We are given an owner’s manual for life by our good and generous God. We are provided instructions, graces, Sacraments, prayers, family, friends, Scriptures, Saints, and forgiveness. But we don’t bother with the manual, we don’t have time for reflection and prayer. If I try to operate my car without checking the owner’s manual, I’ll probably end up with a broken car.

All of that rambling is simply to say that suffering did not HAVE to be part of the human condition. But now that it has been invited into our experience, God works through us to bring forth as much good from the pain as is possible. And this good is not always seen by us here, in this life. Can we really know what God does with the suffering we offer to Him? Perhaps souls are freed from Purgatory. Perhaps your sufferings are providing healing for another soul across the globe who suffers as well. We can’t know (it’s all in Job!) how He does it. We can only trust that He does.


#20

Is is possible that this is what God is doing with us. Are we all like autistic children in God’s eyes, severely limited in our understanding, crying, kicking, screaming, not able to verbalize what we need to say-- but with God nonetheless reaching out and listening to us anyway.

I think so. And loving us as well. Always loving us.


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