Some folks did not like that prayer. It offended them. They had done nothing to invite the terrible curse of COVID 19 and they wanted it known that they were victims. Sin always has victims but seldom has sinners behind the sin. We do not want answers from God; we want comfort and that comfort begins by telling us we did nothing to bring upon ourselves the pain we are suffering. We do not want explanations from God; we want God to take away the pain and promise never to allow it again. We do not want God's presence; either God acts to insulate us from affliction or else He can go back to where He came from.
I was looking up something else and came across these words written 70 years ago. The author was Bishop Fulton Scheen. He could have been one of a thousand authors from times before when the goal of the devotion or prayer was not therapeutic but to call us to repentance and faith. I remember his TV program from my youth and could well imagine him saying those words he wrote long before he was a media personality. Read them, if you desire, but they will not be easy. We do not need understanding when our hearts have succumbed to fear and we live panicked lives. We need voices to tell us the score, to call us to repentance, and to invite us to trust in the Lord. Seen or not, God is still there.
Written in 1950 but appropriate to the present: Millions of men and women today lead what has been called “lives of quiet desperation.” They are panicky, worried, neurotic, fearful, and, above all, frustrated souls.
When Job suffered, he posed questions to God: why was he born, and why was he suffering? God appeared to him, but instead of answering Job’s questions, He began to ask Job to answer some of the larger questions about the universe. When the Creator had finished pouring queries into the head of the creature, Job realized that the questions of God were wiser than the answers of men. Because God’s ways are not our ways—because the salvation of a soul is more important than all material values – because Divine Wisdom can draw good out of evil—the human mind must develop acceptance of the Now, no matter how hard it may be for us to understand its freight of pain. We do not walk out of a theater because the hero is shot in the first act; we give the dramatist credit for having a plot in his mind; so the soul does not walk out on the first act of God’s drama of salvation—it is the last act that is to crown the play. The things that happen to us are not always susceptible to our minds’ comprehension or wills’ conquering; but they are always within the capacity of our Faith to accept and of our wills’ submission.And, another. . .
It is the modern pagan who is the victim of circumstance, and not its master. Such a man, having no practical knowledge of God, no trust in His Providence, no assurance of His Love, lacks the shock absorber of Faith and Hope and Love when difficult days come to him. His mind is caught within the pincers of a past he regrets or resents and a future he is afraid he cannot control. Being thus squeezed, his nature is in pain.