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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
June 4, 2006
Spirit of God - We Need You - Come!

    Last week, the media reported that Pope Benedict XVI visited the infamous concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland.  The Pope was visibly moved, perhaps shaken by the experience.  The one comment that was repeated by the media was, “Why did God allow such a tragedy, why was God silent during this Holocaust?”  This is a statement that  shares some very common feelings with all of humanity.  We have all asked ourselves the same question.  Hearing it from the Pope, however, tends to “shake” us up a bit more.  We must remember that, even the Pope is human.  He too, is mortal.  He too is subject to great emotion.  He too is subject to pain and grief and loss.

    Over the past four months, the parish of St. Paul has lost three children.  The parents and family members of these children are experiencing a great loss.  The friends, teachers, classmates and sports teams are also experiencing this great loss.  There is no doubt that we are all asking ourselves precisely what the Pope asked himself last week. Death and consequently loss, sets the stage for a threefold reaction that is nearly unshakeable or unavoidable.

    The first reaction to serious pain through death and loss is a feeling a great sadness .  This, of course is very normal and natural.  It is a direct reaction to loss.  Depending of the depth of the relationship to the person loss, the sadness could be very intense.

    The second reaction to the pain of loss is anger,  usually directed at God.  Although we know that God was not the cause of the loss, we nonetheless blame Him for our loss.  Again this is normal because we have been taught that God is all powerful and almighty.  Why then, did God not use his power to prevent this terrible tragedy?  As we know, there are as many responses to this question as there are people attempting to answer it.  The answer usually comes to us over time if we are open to God’s work within us.  However, if in anger, we shut ourselves down and refuse to continue relating to God any longer we will definitely miss the answer we so desperately want and need.  In a way, this is what happened when Judas hung himself after the crucifixion of Jesus.  If he had only remained faithful, we would have experienced the Resurrection.

    Lastly, the third reaction is one of doubt that God is actually the God of Love that we have been taught to believe.  Or, at least, we doubt that God loves us in particular.  Why would God allow something so tragic to happen to us if he loves us?  This is an extremely difficult step in our spiritual journey.  Again, if we choose to walk away in despair we will never know.  One perfect example in this case is Jesus Himself.  We remember that he cried out before dying, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me.”?  Although he was probably reciting the words of a psalm which he had committed to memory, he was no doubt applying the words to himself.  It is only natural to blame God, or doubt Him,  in times of pain and tragedy.   The important thing is not to stay in that place. Although difficult, our faith must not be allowed to die.  When we feel that we can no longer support ourselves  in this matter, it is important to ask for support. This is what it means to be Parish.  Family is always there to support.  And, we must not forget that we are all gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Come, Spirit of God, Your People Need You!!!

Lorette P. Nault