Sensing the realities – and share them
I was very much at loss for words when one of my cousins asked, “Where is your God, so powerful and all time healer during this pandemic? Why can’t He remove the immense sufferings of the people?” He added, “You religious have been preaching to us that God can remove sufferings and now I don’t believe in your God”.
His questions led me to days of restlessness and when we ourselves, in our community was hit by the corona virus, I was shattered. I was really shaken in my own faith and I began to ask myself the same questions asked by my cousin and when I read and hear the realities of the world posted in our website, I felt that I am not alone in my struggles to find Him amidst crisis.
The painful reality of the world we live in make us sometimes doubt the very existence of God Himself. Undoubtedly, we live in a highly technological world; of robots, drones and supercomputers. The life journey in the present age seemed to be a smooth sail without any obstacles till we were hit by the corona virus. By the time the world rose up to the challenges of the first wave of the pandemic, the second wave was already at our doors with its alarming symptoms accompanied by panic and death. As the world is wrestling with the pandemic, Israel and Palestine plunged into a war leaving many dead and grief stricken. Amidst all these, natural calamities too hit different part of the world mercilessly especially the small Himalayan country Nepal.
On the face of such an array of wars, natural calamities and epidemics, several questions arise in one’s mind. Does God care for the world? Is God fare? Compassionate? As all our mission fields have become barren fields, we also ask, what should we do at this time of crisis?
As I dwelt deeply on these questions, I realized that though we have no convincing readymade answers to all these questions, we do have hopes and role models to rely. We are not the sole generation who have gone through wars, pandemic, misunderstanding and natural calamities. Though both Mary Ward and Theresa Ball lived a century apart, their generation too went through similar experiences. What kept them going is the unconditional trust that they had, in Jesus their Master. Mary Ward reminds us, “Doubt not your Master”.
When we are faced with anxieties at the face of sufferings caused by something external in which we can have no control, the following extract from one of St. Ignatius letters, can show us a way:
“Do what you can calmly and gently. Do not be disturbed about the rest, but leave to God’s providence what you cannot manage yourself. God is well pleased with the earnestness and moderate anxiety with which we attend to our obligations, but He is not pleased with that anxiety which afflicts the soul, because He wishes our limitations and weakness to seek the support of His strength and omnipotence, with the trust that in His goodness He will supply what is lacking to our weakness and shortcomings”. —St. Ignatius Loyola, The Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola, William J. Young, SJ
Jesus Himself tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” He is not saying that life has no troubles. Rather as we face life with all its troubles and struggles, Jesus is asking us to trust in God and to trust in Him. We can say that trust and trouble are like two sides of the same coin. When we trust in God, we are able to face the troubles of life; and the troubles of life make us turn to God and to trust in Him.
A faith defence is the need of the hour. Let us pray that we be vaccinated with faith and undoubting trust in Jesus our Master on our life journey and find Him in our deep sufferings.
Questions for reflection:
- Consider the current disturbing and tragic events in the world in the light of faith. Is the present pandemic a call to trust in Him?
- What are you anxious about? Is it “moderate anxiety” or “that anxiety which afflicts the soul?” Talk to God about it.
Sr. Vinita Mazhuvancherry CJ