To Search is to find

July-August 2016

We cannot solve all the problems in the world. Every day there is a cause promoted and a need from somewhere. If I am to be generous, when do I say that it's my turn to give? Does it also have to do with feeling the need to do so? Since there are also fake needs/causes and false generosity.

21,000 who responded to a specific, temporary need and made a difference

Yes, indeed, none of us can solve all the problems of the world nor should we attempt to do so. We are faced with endless needs that affect us.

In the Gospels Jesus heals a number of people. Most of the healing stories, whether physical or spiritual, involve individuals such as Bartimaeus the blind man, the Samaritan woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the mother-in-law of St Peter, the daughter of Jairus, the paralyzed man let down through the roof by his friends – a marvellous story. I imagine that his friends were young men aged between 18 and 21 or so!

There are instances of Jesus healing all those who were brought to him and his feeding of the five thousand.

Jesus was well aware of the problems of his day. Jesus is God who became Man. But he didn’t ‘solve’ all these problems. He rather gave us a way of living, a way of responding to needs that we are aware of and that we can do something about. He also tells us in Matthew 25: 31-46, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me . . .’ (v.36). This is the story of the Last Judgement where he identifies himself with those in need.

The Lord invites us to respond where we can, but not where we cannot. He invites us to respond not just by giving money or alms but, where possible, by getting personally involved. Many get involved with others by joining groups that have a specific apostolate.

Some are called by God to work to change situations that cause suffering or injustice. That is the vocation of the politician, for example. Others are called to deal with suffering itself, doctors and nurses, those working in refugee camps, for example.

And the Lord also calls us to trust in his providence, to trust that He will call others to respond to needs that we are aware of but cannot do anything about ourselves.

The Pope’s Evangelization Prayer Intention for August, with ‘Living the Gospel’ as its theme, is That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor. In the video below Janine Geske, a former member of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, USA, reflects on this.

[Source: Apostleship of Prayer]

Why are there bad people in the world? Why does God allow them to hurt others?

I came across this passage recently in a book called Where Silence is Praise by a Carthusian, published in London, England, by Darton, Longman and Todd in 1960. It is on page 128. The author, a Carthusian monk, is responding to a question similar to that above.

Young Jew as Christ, Rembrandt, c.1648
Staatliche Museen, Berlin [Web Gallery of Art]

In the midst of all the horrors, atrocities and crimes which are being committed in the world, God sees only his Son. He gave him to the world: an immense, infinite proof of his love. God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. The Word passes down the centuries, radiating light and love. He was the true light that enlightened everyone coming into the world, inviting everyone to come and be united to him. He gave [them] power to become children of God. God sees only this well-beloved Son, and those who in receiving him become his living image, his reproduction. The world exists for no other purpose than this.

God does not force us to come to him, for then love would not be the true motive. There must be a loving response on our part. Some accept him, and then God loves them in his Son. United to him, they become one with him, and the Father looks upon them both with a single regard of delight. Others refuse him, and God seems to leave them to themselves, to what they have chosen, to follow their own way, as if he no longer  looked upon them: but only as long as their refusal is obstinate and persistent, for he calls to everyone again and again.