These are not easy days in which to be happy. There are lots of reasons for this. But one point is extremely important: since the first humans, it has always been so.
Since the greed of Eve and the cowardice of Adam, people have been hurting each other, stealing from each other, not listening to each other, lying to each other, and killing each other, for stupid and irrational reasons.
So the fact that you might be a bit more awakened and attentive to it now, distressing as that is, is good: you should be concerned about what we’re doing to each other, and about the salvation of sinners.
That evil things are done and division is happening – you should not be surprised. That’s always been part of being a fallen human being.
From Your Heart
Three other things I would add. Firstly: It is normal to feel or experience a degree of distress about what is going on and may happen. This is important, as being children of God, our hearts should be moved with compassion for the suffering, and horror at evil which is done, as His is.
The deliberate taking of an innocent life is a grave offence against God; it is taking the life He Himself gave His own child, which He will judge and deal with accordingly.
A second point is this: it shows us also how badly we need a Saviour. No matter how noble our ideas, by ourselves, we will always stuff it up.
No matter how good our intentions might seem to us, we also keep doing evil. It shows us it’s not just a woke thing, but genuinely important, that we really practise looking at each other with love, that we work with each other in all things, and be people who bring peace, by loving our brothers and sisters as they are, living the commandments, obtaining the psychological and spiritual help that we need, and being grateful for and sharing the riches we already have.
That is your responsibility, that is our duty — ensuring peace starts taking root in your own heart, in order that it blossom around you and make the necessary contribution of ensuring the world is a peaceful place.
Too many men and women, including ourselves, shirk their duty, and passionately pursue isolated desires, or an ideology, or their own way of doing things, rather than taking time to consider, “What is God saying? What is God doing in this? What is God asking of me in this situation?” instead of acting in communion.
Those who refuse communion bring division — they sow division amongst all of us. This is not from God.
God is in Control
My third point is this: while we may be distressed, do not be afraid! All things are in God’s hand; all things depend utterly on Him; He is, as always, master of all creation and events, utterly unshaken even by the biggest schemes of man.
If you place yourself in Him, you need fear nothing and nobody. Have complete confidence in Jesus, and don’t be afraid!
This was the whole point of all last week’s readings. Reading upon reading gave us yet another example of the sheer goodness of God, and the reality of the goodness of the world.
I often hear people saying how terrible the world is, how bad life is, how awful it is that we are condemned to misery or sadness in this life. But this is not true. Life is mainly good.
No matter how much evil there is in the world, no matter how much evil women do, and men do, it is always small relative to how good the world is, how marvellous each human being is – our brothers and sisters! — and how richly God is at this very moment showering us with far more good things than our hearts are able to receive.
This is reality; this is what God was saying to us: But with You is found forgiveness, O God of Israel.
And again: There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength.
And again: “Tell those who have been invited,” He said, “that I have My banquet all prepared, My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.”
You see how wonderful life is for a Christian? So what are you doing? Why are you letting yourself be overwhelmed by the evils of man?
Certainly, we should suffer compassion and distress for our suffering brothers. But do not allow the evil one to let it overshadow the infinitely gushing goodness of God in life.
Live the pain, but put it in its place: be overwhelmed by God’s infinite love, and place that on the sore. For as St John of the Cross teaches, where there is no love, put love, and you will always find love. Amen.
Originally published in The Catholic Weekly. Photo by Arthur Ogleznev.