Yesterday we had God’s Providence and God’s SECONDARY causes
God is the PRIMARY CAUSE of ALL CREATION
God allows SECONDARY CAUSES
Today we see the COST of those secondary causes
Because in God’s Providence there is this thing called The Scandal of Evil
It’s very deep and profound
It’s also sometimes difficult to talk about
It is even more difficult to live
Paragraph 309 says, “If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist?”
That is the question we will look at today
There is no easy answer
Paragraph 309 is one of Fr. Mike’s favorite responses
There is no quick answer
There is no simple answer
The ONLY answer is the ENTIRETY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Paragraph 309 says, “There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.”
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
God’s answer to evil is NOT TO TAKE IT AWAY
God’s answer to evil is NOT TO GIVE US A REASON
God’s answer to evil is HIMSELF
God enters INTO EVIL
God allows it to OVERWHELM HIM
God TRANSFORMS EVIL
God DOES NOT TAKE EVIL AWAY
God DOES NOT REMOVE EVIL
God REDEEMS EVIL
THAT IS SO VASTLY IMPORTANT!!
Paragraph 313 is a series of quotes from Saints who have come to this place of GREAT FAITH
Paragraph 313 says, “We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him.”
St. Catherine of Siena says, “God does nothing without this goal in mind.”
THE GOAL OF LOVE!!
We will hear from St. Thomas More who basically says, “No matter how bad things may be, it will be the best. God’s Will is the best.”
We will also meet St. Dame Julian of Norwich who says, “All manner of things shall be well.”
EVEN IN THE MIDST OF BROKENNESS!!
We are going to ask the question, “Why didn’t God just create a world that HAD NO EVIL?”
The ultimate answer is that God COULD have done that if He wanted to
God WILLED to create creatures who could LOVE
Because God willed to create creatures who could love, angels and human also have the capacity to do the opposite of love
We also have the capacity to USE AND ABUSE EACH OTHER
Because of that we have physical evil and moral evil
So big questions
SUCH HUGE QUESTIONS
Such a HUGE REALITY for all of us
Let’s call upon the Lord and turn to our Father and the Power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we can trust in God
MY GOSH YOU GUYS!!
THIS IS POWERFUL!!
Maybe one of the MORE POWERFUL DAYS WE HAVE
When we talk about the reality of God in Himself…
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!
This is the Lord God we get to talk about
When we get to talk about God’s care for the world
And also the scandal of evil and the problem of suffering
This is God’s reality and His GOODNESS…
Encountering our BROKENNESS…
We can’t begin to say how POWERFUL these paragraphs are
YOU HEARD THEM!!
Paragraph 309 says, “If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist?”
The response is that THERE IS NO SIMPLE ANSWER
Paragraph 309 continues, “To this question…no quick answer will suffice.”
The rest of the paragraph is basically the BEATS (or does Fr. Mike mean “beets”? Are these the MONEY BEETS? 🤪 )
Using the points of Christian doctrine, here is how we understand this
It starts out with THE GOODNESS OF CREATION
We know that creation itself is GOOD
Remember, God looked out at all that He had made and said, “It is good.”
He looked at human beings and said, “It is very good.”
Also we have the next step which is the THE DRAMA OF SIN
Here is this GOOD WORLD that WE BROKE
The next step is THE PATIENT LOVE OF GOD WHO COMES TO MEET MAN WITH HIS COVENANTS
That’s what happened next right?
Genesis Chs 1 & 2 = God creates this good world
Genesis Ch 3 = Our sin
Genesis Ch 3 = God’s promise that He would not leave us
Then we also have THE REDEMPTIVE INCARNATION OF HIS SON
To sum up the whole entirety of the Old Testament in one line…
Paragraph 309 continues, “The patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants.”
Then it sums up the whole entirety of the New Testament in one line…
Paragraph 309 continues, “The redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments…”
What Jesus has done to us is COME TO US IN POWER…
THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THE CHURCH…
IN THE SACRAMENTS!!
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!!
THE SACRAMENTS ARE PART OF GOD’S ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 309 continues, “And his call to a blessed life.”
These next two lines touches our minds and heart so powerfully
“His call to a blessed life…”
God wants us to be with Him
God wants us to have BEATITUDE
God wants us to live forever with Him in Heaven
“His call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance…”
WE GET TO SAY YES!!
In THIS world, we get to give God our ANSWER
Do we give Him our YES?
Do we give Him our NO?
“Call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, in a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance.”
We can say YES to God
We also have the capacity to say NO to God
BY A TERRIBLE MYSTERY GOD ALLOWS US TO SAY NO TO HIM!!
“There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.”
Paragraph 310 says, “But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it?”
Where there is no such thing as suffering?
Yes, that is possible
Paragraph 310 continues, “But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world ‘in a state of journeying’ toward its ultimate perfection.”
Paragraph 310 continues, “With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.”
What’s an example of this?
Since gravity exists that is amazing
We stay stuck to this planet
Is that how it works?
But also, because gravity exists, things fall down
With physical good, there also exists physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection
Paragraph 311 says, “Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray…”
Because God has created us FREE, we have the capacity to LOVE
Because God has created us FREE, we have the capacity to choose NOT TO LOVE
Paragraph 311 says, “Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world.”
THIS IS SO VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND!!
Moral evil is VASTLY WORSE than physical evil
It is WORSE to die spiritually than it is to die physically
So often we forget that REALITY
So often we forget that FACT
We need to make sure that we are NEVER EVER even HINTING at this because IT IS NOT THE TRUTH…
Paragraph 311 says, “God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.”
Remember the analogy of the sun? (I know this is from somewhere in The Bible in a Year but I could not find it using the handy search button on the The Bible in a Year Study Guide. Perhaps you will have better results if you look yourself 😁)
We don’t get dark or cold from the sun
We only get darkness or cold when something GETS IN THE WAY of the sun’s light and heat
Something similar is true for God
“God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.”
Paragraph 312 gives two INCREDIBLE EXAMPLES
Remember Joseph and how he was sold into slavery by his brothers? (I know you remember this!! Go check out Day 19: Joseph and His Brothers in The Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher!! https://www.thebibleinayearstudyguide.com/day-19 😁)
His brothers intended it for EVIL
Originally, they wanted to KILL JOSEPH
They sold him into slavery instead
They meant it for EVIL
God meant it for GOOD
God ALLOWED that to happen because He knew he could bring about a GREATER GOOD
The DRAMA of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ
The Passion and Death of our Lord
THE WORST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED IN HISTORY…
Is the moment God made Himself VULNERABLE
We tried to kill Him
We ultimately succeeded in killing Him
THE WORST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE…
WE KILLED GOD!!
HUMAN BEINGS KILLED GOD!!
That brought about the GREATEST GOOD
THE REDEMPTION OF ALL MEN!!
God can ALLOW moral evil
God does ALLOW us to make FREE CHOICES
God is NEVER THE CAUSE of the evil WE CHOOSE
God is the SOURCE OF OUR FREEDOM
God is the SOURCE OF LOVE
The fact that we can DISTORT that love
We can DISTORT those goods
We can MISUSE each other and ourselves is NOT GOD’S DOING
God ALLOWS it because He knows He can bring about a GREATER GOOD
Paragraph 312 says, “In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil…”
That’s the hard part, right?
Paragraph 314 says, “We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God ‘face to face,’ will we fully know the ways by which-even through the dramas of evil and sin-God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.”
So we remain in a state of JOURNEYING
We get to have CONFIDENCE in God
We get to REST in God
We get to RELY UPON God
There may be many times where we say, “I’d rather not. Lord, I’d rather not have to go through this valley of the shadow of death. I’d rather not have to go through this veil of tears.”
That is why we have the words of these GREAT SAINTS
St. Dame Julian of Norwich says, “All manner of things shall be well.”
St. Catherine of Siena says, “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.”
EVERYTHING that comes to us God can use for our SALVATION
St. Thomas More says, “I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best.”
That’s the big prayer for today
“Ok God, help me to trust that. Help me to trust YOU. Help me to rely upon you and know that, yes, all that comes to me, even if it’s something that just breaks my heart and breaks my life, and even breaks the people around me, even then, help me to trust in you. Even then, help me to rely on you.”
St. Dame Julian Norwich helps us to say, “All will be well.”
ALL WILL BE WELL!!
ALL MANNER OF THINGS WILL BE WELL!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!