One can only imagine the feeling someone has when they hear a raging tornado
bearing down on them and their home. For many, they don't have to imagine.
One can only imagine the feeling one has when they hear news that a loved one
has an unknown lump, or cancer, or terminal illness. For many others, they
don't have to imagine. It's at times like these that faith can be sorely
We hear questions like: "Why did God allow this?" "What did I do to
We hear comments like: "They are being punished for some sin." "If God was
truly a loving God, He would never have allowed it to happen." "If my faith
were stronger, God would have saved me."
These aren't questions or comments of faith, but rather the whisperings of
temptation to leave faith behind.
God never promised wealth and health for those who followed Him, He never
promised us happiness in this world, only in the next. In fact, He promised
the opposite. What He did promise us was His peace. A peace of mind that
nothing is occurring which isn't for our benefit and/or for our loved ones.
It doesn't take away the concern, the sadness, or the anxiety. It merely
helps us through it.
As our Lord hung on the cross, beaten, scourged, and in pain, Our Lady
didn't stand at the foot of the cross happy it was occurring. No, she was
weeping, her heart was being pierced by numerous swords. She knew He was
here for this, she knew what His sacrifice meant for all mankind. But it
didn't take away one once of pain in her heart at seeing her Son suffer and
die. But she had the 'peace' of Christ, to see her through it.
The martyr's of ancient Rome weren't happy to see their friends and
relatives become human torches to light Nero's Circus. But there was a joy,
a 'peace' that it was all for the good. And in fact, as has been said, the
blood of the martyr's watered and nourished the seeds of faith.
It's no accident that one of the ancient symbols of Christ was an
anchor. St. John of the Cross wrote that it's when we have lost everything,
we come closer to God. Holding onto Him to secure us an anchor holds a ship
Our Lord said that we would be like gold. Purified in a furnace. That
is a painful process. The gold nugget, precious on it's own, is heated by
fire and all impurities are separated from it. In this state, it is at it's
most precious. And it's softest, pliable and able to be easily worked with
no change in it's purity.
For those of little or no faith, this 'fire', these trials and tragedies
are not occasions of growth but things to be avoided. Instead of seeking the
cross to anchor themselves to, they run off into fables, anchoring themselves
on themselves. Seeking 'faiths' which suit them, which gives them the
illusion of being in control.
They build their houses on the sandy soil of themselves. And when a
tornado comes (which they cannot control) and destroys that house, they seek
to blame others rather than themselves.
When a tornado destroys a home, a town, a State, we blame God. When a
loved, or ourselves, are diagnosed with a terminal illness, we blame God.
But the person of faith doesn't see these as impediments, or blocks to
faith, but rather avenues of even greater faith. It won't take away the
pain, or the feeling of loss. But will help ease the pain and accept the
I think I speak for all those here that our prayers and thoughts are with
those touched by the tragedies of the past weeks. And may the peace of
Christ, a peace the world cannot give, be with you and yours, now and forever.