Twisted logic, twisted world

Oscar Chicas

As the old saying goes, temptation always comes in threes. We may be tempted during times like these to think that we are being punished by whatever higher power we choose to believe in. We might also be tempted to believe that we’ve been abandoned by that higher power and left to the elements. Even worse, we might be tempted to think that there is no higher power, that there is only what we can see, touch, smell, taste or hear. In the face of great tragedy, it is far easier to take the situation as it seems, and give in to any of those temptations. As is always the case, however, nothing is ever as it seems.

St. Paul tells us, “We walk by faith, not by sight,” (2 Cor 5:7). Hopefully your faith is strong enough to see past that mere mirage of temptation. There is much more to the picture than mere suffering. Though we seem so far away from our neighbors in the southeast, the human portrait rests within a single frame and we are all a part of that one masterpiece. We must live out our part in that portrait and do what faith calls us to do. Only your faith can find the beauty in the hideous and realize that great suffering is truly an opportunity to do great good. Only your faith can allow you to see suffering not as punishment, but as a call from that higher power to come to the aid of your neighbor. Only your faith can prove that there is a God by acting out in his example, reaching out and bringing what light we have to the darkness we fear. With the death toll rising every passing moment, human nature may cause us to struggle with our faith. How can a wise, just and loving God allow or perhaps even cause such destruction? Though we would wish Him to be so ethically pure, the reality of living here on earth is that, at times, we must be so tragically tested by God. Take comfort in the old adage that He will not put us through anything that we cannot endure; He knows how deep are the waters of our compassion, but he wishes us to explore that depth. Walking around on our campus, the scene is so idyllic; we might feel content to stay here within our little corner of the world, boxed in by our own willful ignorance.

We at Villanova, however, can be humbled by the fact that our recent history has been one of breaking free of that box, reaching into the depths of our compassion and going out to other corners of the world where the paint does not smell so sweet, or the sun shine so brightly. I say we can be humbled, and not proud, because pride does cometh before the fall. Pride can have a tendency to induce inaction; it can leave us in awe of what we’ve done and we’ll fail to realize that there is always more to do. The tragedy of Katrina is no less than a sign that there is more to do. We live on earth, not heaven. There was already suffering where Katrina laid her wrath; we needed only to be reminded of it, somehow. Suffering, rather than God’s punishment, is in fact God’s megaphone.

Through the downtrodden and the marginalized God cries out to us, reminding us that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Christ preached a message of compassion, but who needs compassion in a world without suffering? How else shall we be made to know that we need Him, and through Him, each other? How else shall we be made to know that this is earth, not heaven? Job was a blameless and upright man; and yet God chose to test his faith through suffering. Good people do suffer; we all know that.

What we need to know is how we should each respond to God calling through the megaphone. How shall we keep our brother? How shall we love our neighbor? For it is truly the earthly manifestation of salvation that we should answer the call to relieve whatever suffering we can, in the manner we are each made to do such good.

Thus in this twisted logic of this twisted world, we should be thankful that suffering exists, for it affords us the opportunity to do good.