All week our nation united together in shock and disbelief as news unfolded about the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. In the immediate aftermath and over the days following, many stories reported as “fact” were changed so often that even today I’m not certain what is truth and what is speculation. However, I do know that there will never be a direct answer to the question, “Why did this happen?”
At times such as these, I turn to God, on my knees, begging for His grace and mercy to be present; for Him to be with the families of those involved, to shield them, give them strength, and protect their fragile hearts throughout this horrific nightmare.
I’ve heard people asking “Where was God?” and “Why did God allow this to happen?” I turned to my Catechism to see what the church really believes in “evil” and how they answer the question of why God allows evil to happen.
Whether you believe it in or not, evil exists in our world. There are those who may try to explain away an evil act as a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc., but evil is a direct consequence of sin and it comes from humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to Him. Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another. (CCC 386-387)
The source of all sin can be found at the beginning of the history of man, with the first original choice to turn away from God, and sin has marked the whole of our human history. All sin, no matter how small, leads us toward evil and away from God.
However, it is important to realize that God is infinitely good and all his works are good. (CCC 385) He does not do evil and He does not condone evil. He gives us free will to act. He gives us the free will to choose whether we act out of love for Him and thereby for one another, or to shut ourselves off from His love and grace. Unfortunately in our world, there are persons who choose sin, who choose to be separated from love, who choose evil.
When faced with this evil, we also have free will to choose our response. We can harden our hearts with grief and hate or we can seek and find God’s love. For He knows what good may come from our grief. Only God is able to take evil acts and use them to bring light to darkness. He knows we need help fighting evil and so He sent us a Savior in his son, Jesus, to lead us.
Isaiah 40:1 reminds us that before Christ’s birth, God said “Comfort, give comfort to my people.” During these last few days of Blessed Advent, as we wait in joyful hope for our Savior’s birth, let us all give comfort to one another in person and in prayer.
The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessing than those which sin had taken from us: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Romans 5:20 (CCC 420)
Copyright 2012 Shelly Kelly
About the Author
Shelly Henley Kelly is a daughter of God, a Martha who strives to be Mary, living in the world, but not of the world, perpetually busy as breadwinner, wife, mother, catechist, and ACTS sister. A published author, Shelly writes about being a working mom and catechist at SoundMindAndSpirit.com and can be heard on various podcasts at SQPN.com.