Tag Archives: suffering

Why Not Me?

“Why not me?” This is the response that a person I know gives to people who ask the big question about her incurable disease: Why is this happening to you? And, in fact, I think that her answer is really the only one that makes sense. Religions spend a great deal of time trying to explain why bad things happen to good people, and the answers are many and varied. Perhaps it is divine retribution. Or it is God teaching someone (the afflicted, the surrounding community, the world) a lesson. Maybe it is all part …

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The Call

When my children want to talk on the phone instead of sending a text message, I know something big is happening—and my first instinct is that bad news is coming. Earlier this summer, my younger daughter called to tell me she was engaged. I was so thrilled that she was delivering joyful news, especially as she had just gone through the experience of watching someone she loved die after a courageous battle with brain cancer. It was so wonderful to hear the joy in her voice. A conversation with my eldest son a few weeks …

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Gold That’s Tested in Fire: When Faith is Tested to the Breaking Point

“My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.  Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.” Sirach 1:1,2 The Boston Marathon blast that killed three and maimed scores whose lives were changed forever.  The young man at LaSalle H.S. who shot himself.  The three young women who were abducted and held prisoner for ten years in Cleveland.  Sandy Hook, and all those bright-eyed, beautiful kids whose lives were brutally taken.  A baby discarded in a dumpster; countless others aborted. Atrocities in Syria, Nigeria, …

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What Does This Say About God?

I ask my students at Xavier this question fairly regularly. When we read various creation stories, some of them quite bloody and violent and compare them to the accounts in Genesis. When we talk about the stories of the birth and crucifixion of Jesus. When we talk about suffering. What kind of God do we believe in? I get the impression that many people take a pretty dark view of God. They seem to think that bad things happen because God wants them to. God is teaching us a lesson or punishing us or testing …

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The Way Human Beings Are Not Meant to Live

Living in the sight and smell of feces and urine, with raw sewage at their feet, limited water, not much electric, no heat or air-conditioning, and not enough food – this is not what the people on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship had signed up for. This was no way to live. They deserved better. It was unacceptable. Yet this is how they spent their Mardi Gras and began their Lent. In communication with loved ones by cell phones many gave accounts of the good service of the crew. They spoke about how they were …

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Suffering with Children

We live in a suffering world.  It is a fact of life. This suffering is especially acute for those parents who watch their children suffer from debilitating, transforming illnesses or disabilities. I know one family whose grade school son was stricken with viral meningitis.  One day, he was a healthy, active boy.  The next, he was confined to a bed, unable to move and talk.  That was two years ago and his improvement has been glacial. Another family has a little girl who just turned one.  She was born with a two chamber heart.  She …

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Desert Wanderings

On the Thursday between Christmas and New Year’s, I was eating lunch with my crew and I noticed that I couldn’t form a seal on the straw. The liquid just kept dribbling. My lips felt numb.  I couldn’t speak clearly.  I was having trouble holding the food in my mouth while I ate. I called my little brother, the doctor, and he told me to get to the ER right away. He thought I might be having a stroke. After four and a half hours in the emergency room I found out that what I …

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