(reposted from August 2020)
This year has not been easy, to say the least. Our country, our homes, our lives are in disarray. We look up to heaven and beg God for answers. Lord, why would you allow so much suffering? Why can't you just put a stop to this madness? It's hard to trust in Your perfect Will, when it seems to be anything but perfect.
And we can bring this question way back to the beginning, to the first instance of disarray: the Fall in the garden, Adam and Eve's original sin. And we could ask again, "Lord, why did you allow sin to enter the world in the first place? You knew what was to come afterwards. Why didn't you intervene? Where were you?
The simple answer is: He is here, and He is working (Romans 8:28).
St. Faustina wrote, "Jesus gave me to know that even the smallest thing does not happen on earth without His Will."
Our circumstances, however difficult to bare, are not coincidental, and He has not left us alone to deal with the consequences of our own faults. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that after the Fall, God did not abandon us, but instead orchestrated events to leave us better off than we were before (CCC, 410). "When Jesus became obedient to death, even death on a cross, He "superabundently" made amends for the disobedience of Adam (CCC, 411). The grace we receive from Christ's death gives us blessings GREATER than those that sin had taken from us. In other words, without the presence of original sin, we would not have access to this greater fount of graces.
"God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil's envy that death entered the world" (Wis 1:13; 2:24). God does not cause destruction and chaos, but He does not waste it either. He uses it for good. He takes the broken pieces from terrible circumstances and puts them back together, better than they were before. He's not just rebuilding us; He's redeeming us.
This truth is all the more relevant today, as we witness our people of Southwest Louisiana and the hell they are enduring from the devastating effects of Hurricane Laura. We find ourselves again asking the question, why? And the answer does not change: He does not make destruction and chaos, but He does not waste it either. He is here, and He is working.
As you scroll through the countless pictures showing the indescribable destruction that was left behind, you'll notice that just about every post you read ends with, "...but it could have been so much worse." "We are so thankful." Even from the people who lost EVERYTHING, who are now literally homeless, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, you will read posts like "These are just things," "He is still good," and "We are just thankful that our family is safe." Picture after picture of demolished businesses and homes that look as though they were taken from a war zone, alongside words of THANKSGIVING and PRAISE. An outpouring of love, selflessness and prayer to friends and strangers. First responders who haven't slept in days, supplies and resources coming in from every corner of the country. This kind of faith and generosity may not be common to all parts of our country, but it is common here. We see it time and time again, but only after a tragedy such as this. Only after we're asked to carry a little bit of Jesus' cross together.
The greater the weight of your cross, the greater your capacity for love. Because with great weight, comes greater humility. And from humility comes gratitude, and from gratitude comes a love purer than you were capable of before. He has not left us abandoned; He is working. He is rebuilding and redeeming. This is how God has worked from the beginning of time and it's how He will continue. He does not just take the hopeless out of our hopeless circumstances. He fills them with more hope than we could ask for and redeems them to be better than what they could have been without it.
God took original sin, and gave us greater graces than before. He takes our own personal sins, and gives us bigger mercies in return. He takes hopeless situations and replaces them with fruits greater than we could've imaged. And He will use this tragedy in Southwest Louisiana to show a love greater than we would've ever known. He will give blessings greater than we would’ve ever known too. With tragedy, this state shines with the love of Christ, that we would not be capable of with out it.
He knows we are strong, but He also knows we are tired.
He is here. He is working.