Garden after the Storm, art by Alexi Zaitsev
When encountering suffering—whether in ourselves or in someone else—the important question is not “How can God love us when these things are allowed to happen? but rather “We know that God loves us, so what is God’s meaning in allowing such sufferings?”
‘Why doesn’t God, who is almighty, interfere?” many ask. But God’s power is the power of love. And “love” is patient, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things” (1 Cor 13:4, 7).
God refuses to be dragged into the spiral of violence. If God were to use power and authority to end all evil in the world, he would be no better than we are. God does not dictate; he respects us.
God has given us the unfathomable honor of letting us be collaborators in the work of creation. He has shared his intelligence and freedom with us and let us participate in the completion of creation. That God has taken a great risk in doing so is something we experience daily.
But God has esteemed us so highly as co-creators that he doesn’t hesitate to pay the price.
If God wasn’t love, it would be easy for an all-powerful God to take away our freedom and reduce us to marionettes and mechanical puppets. Then everything in the world would be perfect. But we would also be robbed of our dignity.
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
He Suffered, art by Arild Rosenkrantz (England c.1928)
O Lonely Christ of Charing Cross
O lonely Christ of Charing Cross, Rue de la Paix,
Boulevard Anspach; O lonely Christ of a thousand
celebrated thoroughfares and foreign-sounding streets.
Why is it that I have to meet you here, so far from home,
When I have seen you lonely, too, in Harlem and Fifth Avenue? In
Edmonton, Yukon, and Portland, Oregon; in Chicago, San Francisco,
Toronto, Kalamazoo, you were lonely too.
O lonely Christ of everywhere, why stand you there and here,
so still, so sad, looking at the hurrying crowds who pass you by—Why?
Why are your eyes so full of hunger, longing, pity and compassion?
Why do you lift your nail-torn hand and then let it fall again
with so much sadness, as though you were a beggar about to beg, alas?
Why is it that I have to meet you across all continents, all celebrated thoroughfares,
small, dingy streets and palatial avenues, as well as wild and distant places?
You answer nothing. You just look.
O Christ of Charing Cross, so lonely,
you weep because the multitudes are hungry for your love and know it not.
And because you hunger to be loved by those who know you not.
Give me the key, Beloved, so that I may open your loneliness and,
entering, share its weight. Behold my heart that you have wounded with your love.
Make it a door for all to come to you. Give me your voice and words of fire
that I may show them you.
~ A Poem by Catherine De Hueck Doherty