Many people throughout the world who have ceased to pray, to trust in God, or even to believe in Him have cited one particular reason for their departure from the Faith: If God existed and was omnibenevolent, He wouldn’t allow all of this suffering and evil in the world. Why does He allow it? How do we explain all of the tragedy, pain, and sin in the world if God is truly caring for us?
Kathy from CA called in to Father Simon Says to ask this very question:
“I know the broad answer to this question, but A) why is there evil in the world, and B) why do we have to suffer?”
Fr. Simon responded, “Easy answer: Suffering is the price of love.” He used the example of two people who love one another. If one of them gets sick, the other one feels that pain out of sympathy, empathy, and love. They desire the health of the other and thus, they suffer for their love. If they didn’t love one another, why would the healthy person feel bad for the sick one? They would say, “Oh, too bad,” without another thought. They would have no reason to be invested in the health or well-being of the other person.
In this weak and faulted world, suffering is the price of love. What is love? It is not to feel joy or contentment in the presence of another. While those are good things, that is not agapē, the unconditional love for another. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, true love is to will the good of another, and how can you will the good of another without evil?
We are charged, by our creation as beings made in the image and likeness of God, to make choices. If there was no darkness, we could not choose light. If there was no indifference, we could not choose love. If there was no evil, we could not choose good.
We live in a world that is being cloaked in darkness more and more every day, but that’s no excuse to become jaded, disillusioned, or indifferent to the problems and problematic people of the world. As Fr. Simon explained, “We have many opportunities to love in the modern world.” To love someone isn’t to enjoy their presence. To love them is to will their good. In that way, we can find it in our hearts to love every one of God’s children.
Jesus’s sacrifice on Calvary was the ultimate example of paying the price of love through suffering. God loved us so much that He gave us Jesus Christ, His son, to show us the way and the truth, and then pay the ultimate price for the sins of the whole world by subjecting Himself to torture and death. Through suffering, He redeemed us all. Through suffering, God showed His love.
“‘And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.’
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:14-17)
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