Today, we celebrate the feast of the holy innocents and the martyrs.
The suffering of God’s faithful is a stumbling block for many of us. We, as humans, ask:
If God is real, why doesn’t He save His faithful from suffering?
Why do faithful couples and innocent babies suffer from miscarriages?
Why do young, innocent children suffer from terminal illnesses?
And then, there are victims of wars, natural disasters, and those who seem to simply be at wrong place at the wrong time.
In today’s Gospel reading, we remember how innocent boys two years of age and below were massacred:
“When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.” — Matthew 2:16
Suffering is always difficult to comprehend. But today, I have faith that God is not calling us to understand suffering. He is calling us to simply trust — in His goodness, in His faithfulness, in His kindness, in His fatherly love, in His ways that are infinitely higher than ours, in His justice.
I have faith that He is calling us to trust that many of our questions will be answered when we finally see Him face to face.
We have to completely trust — with all our intellect, strength, will, lives, and being.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) gives us profound insights and guidance on evil and suffering:
“In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: ‘It was not you,’ said Joseph to his brothers, ‘who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.’ From the greatest moral evil ever committed — the rejection and murder of God's only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that ‘abounded all the more’, brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.” — CCC 312
“‘We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him.’ The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:
St. Catherine of Siena said to ‘those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them’: ‘Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.’
St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: ‘Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best.’
Dame Julian of Norwich: ‘Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith. . . and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time - that 'all manner [of] thing shall be well.'" — CCC 313
“We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God ‘face to face’, will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.” — CCC 314
We may not be able to fully taste or experience the beauty of God’s creations because of sin. But, we can trust our faithful Father that we can fully experience the beauty of our Creator and His love.
Let us trust with hope and with joy in our hearts, even in the face of suffering.