Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where is God?

I was thinking this morning, after seeing The Dark Knight last night, about how chaotic and scary the world can be, about the terror that being alive amounts to sometimes. In other words, about the problem of evil. Without a doubt this is the reason why a good many people cannot believe in God.

As Christians we should not wonder where God is when evil seems to prevail. The presence God has in the world, dear friends, is us- the baptized, those who are Christians. Our vocation is to show forth the great love God has for the world by not being overcome by evil. Even though we are God's presence in a world already in the process of being redeemed, we are not alone. Jesus has not left us orphans. We have the Spirit of God. God's Spirit is gentle. God's Spirit is not violent, not returning evil for evil, nor an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. Again, this is where the saints are our great exemplars in responding to evil, pain, and suffering in the world.

We are all called to be holy, that is, saints. Instead of waiting for the deus ex machina, which is what most people look for and even expect when evil and chaos rear their heads, we need to prayerfully act and be Christ's presence for others, even if this can only amount to being a non-anxious presence in the midst of the chaos, the pain, or the suffering. I think that becoming mature in our faith is about just that. This came home to me last year when reading the book on Mother Teresa's life, that there comes a time in the life of a disciple when we begin to live. Such a life is captured well in the Prayer of St. Francis, which we cannot take in some sentimental sense, but in a where-the-rubber-meets-the-road existential sense:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . .hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . .joy
Divine Master,
grant that i may not so much seek
To be consoled . . .as to console
To be understood . . .as to understand,
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . .that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
It is in dying . . .that we are born to eternal life


Jesus sought to foster such maturity among the twelve even during his lifetime, by sending them forth (Matt. 10,5-15).

As a balance to this perhaps overly existential post, I draw your attention to a post over on come to see, entitled The miracle of Christ's presence.

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