by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto


     In recent months, disastrous weather has been striking the west coast of our country and parts of other nations, as well.

      As television reports reveal the floods, mud slides, houses falling down hillsides soaked with rain and mud, people and animals rescued from drowning in mud, cars covered and irreparably damaged, houses ripped to shreds from tornadic winds, etc., one understandably asks, "Why?"

      For the Christian who believes that Our Blessed Mother has been appearing in Medjugorje since 1981 as well as many other places around the world, these unhappy occurrences are not a surprise.

      Our Lady has been warning us that the world is offending God extremely and that because of the sinfulness of peoples and their loss of Faith and respect for Godís laws, humankind will be shaken to their core.† Those were not her exact words, but she meant similarly.

      The "punishment" of mankind is nothing new.† One only needs to read Scripture from the beginning to see that manís disobedience to God has brought disaster to himself and others.† Over and over again in salvation history we read how people strayed from God, experienced punishment in some way, returned to God in penance and then with time, strayed again.

      Well, the Church teaches us that our temptations come from three sources: the world, the flesh, and the devil.† And Our Lady herself has informed us many times that satan is very strong and he knows that his time is short and he is working especially hard to make people turn from God to live sinful lives thinking sin will make them happy.

      Though we live in a superb technological age, the reality is that human nature has not changed one iota from the creation of Adam and Eve.† Humans still tend to evil, to thinking that they know better than God, to thinking they donít need God to be happy.†

      God is the Best Parent and sometimes good parents, though they donít want to, must necessarily punish their children for their wrongdoing.† When "reasoning" fails to influence the behavior of children, some form of punishment must be exercised, if parents truly care about the habits their children form and will take into their adulthood.

      As with good human parents, the "last resort" for God is to let "misfortunes" or "tragedies" befall us.† But if He does so, it is not because He is a "mean" God, but rather to make us understand that HE DOES EXIST and in order to be happy in this life and in the next we must respect Him and keep His Commandments.

      There will be more serious natural disasters in our country.† When tragedy or disaster strikes, people readily turn their thoughts to God.† They EXPERIENCE how much they depend on God and how "nature" can completely change the comfortableness of their lives.

      As we view the tragedies on television, let us note that we, too, can be victims and learn from the sufferings of fellow-Americans to turn to God, be converted every day and pray MORE.

      God bless you!