'How can a loving God allow this to happen?'
Alex is an aid worker who lives in the Sri
Lankan city of Batticaloa where 2600 people
lost their lives and ten of thousands were
left homeless when the tsunami hit the land.
"This disaster has shaken my faith",
the 60 year old man said.
He was not the only one. As a UK newspaper
was quick to remark, the Tsunami managed
to destroy not only the lives and the
of many; it destroyed also the faith
enormous number of people all over
It is never easy to find meaning to
The randomness of the destruction and
twists of fate that separated the living
from the dead in this particular tragedy
left many perplexed. Many found it
reconcile their faith with this terrible
loss of lives.
"My wife is a Hindu devotee and
oil lamps to the Hindu gods 24 hours
says Mr. Manangarajah, another Sri
"I however have carried 37 bodies
my back. I have big doubts."
Suffering is always an enigma. "Suffering
seems to belong to man's transcendence,"
wrote John Paul. "It is one of
points in which man is in a certain
'destined' to go beyond himself."
times the only reasonable response
acceptance. Emotional energies are
spent in worship than in questioning.
is no way we humans can ever fathom
John Paul called this calamity "the
most difficult and painful of tests"
but he immediately added "God
abandoned his people".
Obviously this is a word of God. Perhaps
God is not indifferent to the horrific
being done in many places against humanity.
Thailand is infamous for its sex trade
many times involves small children.
of human organs is a crime which cries
However we have to tread careful. When
tower of Siloam fell and killed eighteen
bystanders, some bystanders approached
and asked him the obvious question
this tower fell on these people and
His answer, as always, was surprising.
reason was not that "they were
offenders than all the others who dwelt
Jerusalem". No, through this event,
God is speaking to all of you, he affirms!
"Unless you repent you will all
Instead of asking 'why did it happen?'
to ask 'what am I going to make out
Better focus on the lesson than on
To understand all these doubts, it
to realize that we live in a basically
milieu. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
is not a familiar name for many. But
German-Swiss philosopher is one of
influential modern thinkers. His analysis
of the root motives and values that
traditional Western religion, morality,
philosophy affected generations of
philosophers, psychologists, poets,
and media reporters.
Even though he had mental problems
revered by Adolph Hitler for his dislike
of democracy and his heroic ideal of
▄bermensch (Superman), he had an ominous
impact on our way of thinking. He fulminated
against Christianity and announced
His reasoning on suffering and God
and yet it is so seducing! If God,
was able to prevent this disaster and
not, then He is a bad god. If God was
able to prevent this disaster, then
a very weak god... Either way, god
The only way one can get out of this
is to realize that God is always bigger.
He cannot fit in these two centimeters
our mind. God has promised never to
up on us. God's goal is not to pamper
physically, but to perfect us spiritually.
His ways are not our ways, they are
This story was very popular once on
It is simple yet powerful.
"I have in my hands two boxes
God gave me to hold. He said, "Put
your sorrows in the black, and all
in the gold."
I heeded His words, and in the two
both my joys and sorrows I stored.
the gold became heavier each day the
was as light as before
With curiosity, I opened the black.
to find out why. And I saw, in the
the box, a hole which my sorrows had
I showed the hole to God, and mused
"I wonder where my sorrows could
He smiled a gentle smile at me."
child, they're all here with me."
I asked, "God, why give me the
why the gold, and the black with the
"My child, the gold is for you
your blessings, the black is for you
Yes, the only way through suffering
accept it and trust in His goodness
His ability to transform it into good.
asked a few years ago if he might consider
resigning, John Paul reportedly asked,
reply, "Did Christ come down from
Worth pondering, no?
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright