Friday, December 29, 2006

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All Catholics and non-Catholics are invited!!
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"Sunshine" recently wrote, "I have one question and that is 'Why do bad things always happen to good people.' I see that with my friends, people I work with and people on this blog. It just doesn't seem right." Thanks for the question, Sunshine. The following are excerpts from an excellent article written by Peter Kreeft, a prominent, lay Catholic theologian who teaches at Boston College. To view the full text, please click on the title of this post.


"... Why do bad things happen to good people? The question makes three questionable assumptions.

First, who's to say we are good people? The question should be not 'Why do bad things happen to good people?' but 'Why do good things happen to bad people?' If the fairy godmother tells Cinderella that she can wear her magic gown until midnight, the question should be not 'Why not after midnight?' but 'Why did I get to wear it at all?' The question is not why the glass of water is half empty but why it is half full, for all goodness is gift. The best people are the ones who are most reluctant to call themselves good people. Sinners think they are saints, but saints know they are sinners. The best man who ever lived once said, 'No one is good but God alone.'

Second, who's to say suffering is all bad? Life without it would produce spoiled brats and tyrants, not joyful saints. Rabbi Abraham Heschel says simply, 'The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?' Suffering can work for the greater good of wisdom. It is not true that all things are good, but it is true that 'all things work together for good to those who love God.'

Third, who's to say we have to know all God's reasons? Who ever promised us all the answers? Animals can't understand much about us; why should we be able to understand everything about God? The obvious point of the Book of Job, the world's greatest exploration of the problem of evil, is that we just don't know what God is up to. What a hard lesson to learn: Lesson One, that we are ignorant, that we are infants! No wonder Socrates was declared by the Delphic Oracle to be the wisest man in the world. He interpreted that declaration to mean that he alone knew that he did not have wisdom, and that was true wisdom for man.

A child on the tenth story of a burning building cannot see the firefighters with their safety net on the street. They call up, 'Jump! We'll catch you. Trust us.' The child objects, 'But I can't see you.' The firefighter replies, 'That's all right. I can see you. We are like that child, evil is like the fire, our ignorance is like the smoke, God is like the firefighter, and Christ is like the safety net. If there are situations like this where we must trust even fallible human beings with our lives, where we must trust what we hear, not what we see, then it is reasonable that we must trust the infallible, all-seeing God when we hear from his word but do not see from our reason or experience. We cannot know all God's reasons, but we can know why we cannot know."

27 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So: you're worse than you think you are; you're an ingrate for not appreciating what you have; you're gonna suffer and like it; and don't expect God to answer your questions. This is hard to accept, but I think it is closer to the truth than a lot of the "God will show us His plan and will provide" theology.

 
At 1:17 PM, Anonymous blogger said...

"there are situations like this where we must trust even fallible human beings with our lives, where we must trust what we hear,"

I agree.

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you feel certain people are uncomfortable with your volunteering in the church should you just drop the activity(ies)? Asking if they are feeling uncomfortable is not an option.

 
At 6:42 PM, Anonymous blogger said...

I know people want to be anonymous but can we at least write fictional names so it doesn't get confusing? There are too many anons here. Just a thought.

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom had an advanced case of cancer and I and a lot of people including a very holy priest prayed for her. The cancer is totally gone!!! The doctors don't know how to explain it. I do. God and His wonderful Mother. Any time you are in trouble, pain, confusion etc pray to Our Lady. She listens and loves us-her children.

Happy Blogger

 
At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” ~The Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Sydney said...

I agree with annoymous #1; we might not like the given answers, but reality bites. Excellent post.

Very glad about your mom's cancer disappearing, annoymous #3!

 
At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Sydney it was definately a great relief!! What a happy new year it will be for us!!

 
At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Sunshine said...

"If you feel certain people are uncomfortable with your volunteering in the church should you just drop the activity(ies)? Asking if they are feeling uncomfortable is not an option."


The question is whether you are uncomfortable or not. If you aren't then continue.

 
At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Sydney said...

As awful as he is/was, please say prayesr for the soul of Saddam Hussein (and the souls of his victims, their families, lost Americans, etc.). We all need to be prayed for, and his soul needs truly extrodinary help.

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous saku said...

Okay I want to do something totally out of character and that is to get a tatoo. Just a little one on my forearm. Has anyone got one?

 
At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the souls of his victims, their families, lost Americans, etc.). "



Will definately do.


Saku

 
At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'No one is good but God alone.'

I agree that God alone is all goodness but that doesn't mean we don't have some goodness within us.

 
At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will happen to his soul?

 
At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As awful as he was"

Why do we need to pray for someone who hurt others so horribly? I saw a few news reports on what he and his sons did and it caused chills to go up and down my spine. I felt so awful for his victims who suffered "So MUCH".

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Saku,

I got one and it hurt so if you can stand pain go for it otherwise forget it.

 
At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Catholics and "non-Catholics" are invited!!


Its so great that non-Catholics can go to Eucharistic Adoration! I hope it draws them to Jesus.

 
At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you feel others are uncomfortable if you go to their church should you forgo going?

 
At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now all the victims' families will be happy because Saddam got his just sentence," said Hamza, who lives in Diwaniyah, a Shiite town 80 miles south of Baghdad.

 
At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you feel others are uncomfortable if you go to their church should you forgo going?

Absolutely. Don't be anywhere you feel uncomfortable or you feel others are uncomfortable around you. Church is a place where you go to attain peace.

 
At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kat,

I am not quitting my parish or the volunteering but there was(is) something definately going on. I've figured it out a while back and decided just to ignore it. After tolerating for a while it was like "come on-sheesh".
This issue is not about someone liking or disliking me or a misunderstanding of something being said, but I do know what is going on and will deal with it. Thanks Kat for your wisdom.

I am glad everything went well for you in your church. I too like my parish a lot and will never leave it.

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and will deal with it."

By continuing to stay low key.

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Kat, I like your post! Great comments on the death penalty and the final disposition of the soul. Who are we to measure God's mercy? The scriptures say that His ways and His thoughts are far above ours. Also, Jesus explicitly instructs Christians that we should pray for our enemies. Jesus tells us that it is easy to pray for one's friends. Admittedly, I don't have it in me to pray for Saddam yet. That's a tough one. Kind of like praying for Hitler's soul. Tough stuff!

Thanks, as always, for your great informative answers. I am so glad that you are back home (the Church), and I am thankful that you give so much on the blog site. Happy new year! Hopefully, FG will introduce us one day. I am not a parishioner, but I try to come to adoration whenever possible.

 
At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

All suffering bears a gift. We can't ask God "why" and expect an answer. We can ask what are you trying to teach me through this experience of suffering, Lord? Christ's death on the cross is the ultimate example of "all suffering bears a gift." He suffered a horrible tragic death, rose from the dead so that we may have eternal life with the Father(where there is no pain).

I love the saying, "If you are looking for wisdom, spend time with some one who is suffering."

If your suffering brings you to your knees before Jesus, then maybe your gift is your salvation.

 
At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sigh

 

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