Sunday, 1 September 2013

When disasters happen


“We interrupt this programme to bring you a News Flash …” blared the radio in the kitchen.

Father Ignatius stopped his cooking for a minute and listened attentively. There had been a train crash not far from where he lived. Somehow the train was de-railed and fell down a steep embankment into a nearby river. There were a number of casualties as well as many injuries.

The priest rang the emergency number given by the radio announcer to enquire how he might help. He was asked to go to the local hospital to donate blood, and also to help comfort some of the not seriously wounded.

An hour or so later he was consoled that many of the town’s folk had responded to the appeal and a long queue had formed to donate blood.

That disaster had shaken the town’s morale badly. Father Ignatius decided, unconventionally as it might seem, to make the train crash the subject of his sermon on Sunday.

He approached the lectern and said: “Let us pray for the victims and the injured of the train crash which happened a few days ago; as well as for their family and friends.

“This train crash has come as quite a shock to all of us, especially as it comes so close to the tragedy last week when a bus driver lost control of his bus and killed several school children walking on the sidewalk.

“When such disasters happen, some of us get a little confused and ask why God made it happen. Some even blame Him for the disaster believing that a loving God should have prevented it.

“I say … Praise the Lord!”

Father Ignatius paused for a while to allow the murmurs in church to die down.

“I can see from your faces that some of you think I’ve gone mad,” he continued.

“Father Ignatius has lost his marbles … he is a few Hail Mary’s short of a Rosary … his little grey cells have turned to ashes … and whatever other metaphors you wish to make up to describe my sanity or lack of it.

“Of course I recognise and I'm deeply shocked by the terrible tragedies that have befallen this town in the last few days. Especially when we consider as well the severe economic crisis we’re living through and how it is affecting many families facing loss of work and income. And how misery tends to enjoy company and has visited many local communities lately.

“Please don’t misunderstand me … when such disasters happen we must help in every practical way we can.

“But I also wish to ask you to consider this … Where do you think God is when a disaster happens?

“Is He hiding behind the settee cringing in fear at what is happening in the world today? How it’s all gone wrong and He can’t handle it anymore?

“Or is He still in control of all that is happening in the universe?

“When we praise Him, we’re not doing so because of the disaster, but because He is still in control of this and every situation.

“In doing so, we acknowledge His greatness, His omnipotence and that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

“By praising Him, no matter what the situation, we somehow open a channel for His grace to shine upon us and, if it is His will, a good outcome will result from a bad situation.

“The alternative of course is to rebel and blame Him for the bad situation that befalls us. And where will this lead us I ask you?

“How dare we … insignificant minuscule little creatures that we are … how dare we question His will and in so doing distance ourselves from His love and mercy?

“Of course we’re hurt and shocked by what has happened recently and we’re confused. We wouldn’t be humans if we weren’t.

“But I urge you, having prayed for the victims and their families and friends, having helped practically where we can, let us now stand and confidently praise the Lord that He is still in control of everything.”

14 comments:

  1. Victor, This is a wonderful perspective to help in those times..I think some may still see this as 'a few Hail Mary's short of a Rosary', but it's the truth is He is in control..
    Blessings +

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  2. Victor, This is a wonderful perspective to help in those times..I think some may still see this as 'a few Hail Mary's short of a Rosary', but it's the truth is He is in control..
    Blessings +

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right Caroline. Sometimes when things go wrong people despair and feel that God abandonned them. But He is still in control and allows His will to be done. When we praise Him He often turns a bad situation to the good.

      God bless you.

      Delete
    2. Hello. Just wanted you to know your book visions God used to lead me to be apart of a retreat. You can read my last post. On our Lady of undoer of knots. Your book so spoke to me. Loved it!
      God Bless,
      Janice

      Delete
    3. Hello. Just wanted you to know your book visions God used to lead me to be apart of a retreat. You can read my last post. On our Lady of undoer of knots. Your book so spoke to me. Loved it!
      God Bless,
      Janice

      Delete
    4. Thank you Janice for writing to let me know you enjoyed my book Visions. I pray and hope that you enjoy the retreat and may Our Lady and her Son Jesus be with you always.

      God bless.

      Delete
  3. I've only read this post thanks to Manny's blog and from what I've read so far, I believe that GOD (Good Old Dad) would be pleased with what you wrote.

    Hey! I might even come here more often cause I've noticed in your profile that you like country music. :)

    God Bless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Victor for visiting me here. Of course you're always welcome back. Every now and then I put up an old Country song here. Click for the last one:
      HERE

      God bless.

      Delete
  4. Our small minds can't fathom why God allows disasters, but we can be sure it is for our good in some way. I think of Psalm 43:5:

    "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

    And Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."

    Job 1:21: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

    When I am going through a tough time, I read the book of Job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am certain you are right Barbara. I know that when things go wrong for me I tend to panic. I suppose it's a question of keeping focus on God.

      May He bless you always.

      Delete
  5. I do not think God "causes" bad things to happen, but He does allow them to happen. I dont know why, but I do know that God is always with us through it all. And He always turns bad into good.
    I love Barb's quotes too.
    God bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Colleen,

      I believe He allows bad things to happen according to His will so that, in some cases, good comes out of a bad situation. I have seen this happen often. Please see my post of today, based on a true story.

      God bless.

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  6. Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. has some helpful insight into the questions of suffering in the world - "suffering without faith leads only to depression and despair; but suffering with love for God leads directly to meaning and a faith which is life-giving and life-transforming."

    Fr. Spitzer has a series of videos called 'Suffering and the God of Love';
    his own personal story is very compelling.

    Great post, Victor!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hand-Maid. I believe Father Robert is correct. When we suffer our Faith is sometimes strengthened. The very fact that we continue to pray, even in our despair, is a sign that we still have some Faith.

      God bless.

      Delete

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God bless you.

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