This morning I was stressed and struggling with an upcoming deadline of my book and found myself being snippy with people and not as kind as I should have been. I thus decided to go down to the daily mass at St. Pat’s in Malvern to see if I could work things out, and as I mozied over I asked God if he wouldn’t mind offering a miracle, sending a sign, or lending a spiritual pick-me-up. Particularly I requested something nice, something cheerful, like the sighting of a dove. I told God that things were a little stressful right now, so if he could work such a miracle, well, that could be nice. And how did God respond to this? I’ll tell you: by putting a kid with cancer in the very front pew.

Now, before my (I guess you could call it) “re-conversion” to the Catholic faith, I often struggled as many do with the so-called problem of suffering. Why, I would continually wonder, if there is a loving God, would he allow such horrible things to happen in the world, particularly things as childhood cancer, which I think we might all agree is at the very top of the list of things that suck and make absolutely no sense. Eventually I concluded there is at least no logical contradiction between the two—that is, so long as God may have morally sufficient reasons beyond our knowing for allowing such atrocities to occur, then such atrocities are not at conflict with God’s existence. But solving a problem logically is not the same as solving a problem emotionally. Today I think I came a great deal closer to solving that problem emotionally.

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