Dear Father Angelo,
while reading your answer to the question “I think I was visited by the angel of punishment etc. … …” dated March 1st, 2018, some other questions have arised .
Could we say that Jesus makes “useful” the suffering which originated from the corruption of the primordial perfection of man and creation?
Or else, that suffering, which in any case would exist, as it arose from the corruption caused by original sins to the laws of nature, can be associated with salvation rather than being an useless and meaningless experience?
This would also relieve me from the sadness of a thought.
Before dying, my mother suffered for three years and at the end I regained the faith which I had “forgotten” for decades.
It gives me relief from a sort of scruple of conscience thinking that she did not suffer for my conversion (that is, as a necessary cause for it) but, rather, that she offered her suffering , which would have happened anyway, for my benefit.
There is also something else which I have been asking myself all my life. As a young man there were three people who hurt me, in different times and ways, influencing, to some extent, the course of my life as well.
All three of them died young, two even with great sufferings and the third in a mysterious car accident.
I have never cursed them; in fact, I pray for them and therefore I am at peace from that point of view. However, I have always asked myself whether what happened to them could be related with their actions and, if so, if that was necessary to atone for their sins or even to prevent them from doing other harm.
But perhaps only God can answer these questions.
Pax et bonum
Answer from the priest
1. About the first two questions, we can never say that the Lord allows or wants this or that because of one’s own or another’s sins.
During my Logic course I was taught that from the assumption “post hoc” (following this), one cannot infer “ ergo propter hoc” (therefore because of this).
2. In regards to your mother, your consideration is correct.
In fact, as we go on in the years, our organism becomes more and more subjected to diseases and finally to death.
This is a natural process, which would have been spared to us if Adam had not sinned.
Through the redemption, Christ freed us from eternal death, that is, from hell.
Freed from this death are those who accept to live in His divine life, that is His Grace which is a supernatural and immortal life.
But He did not spare us from temporal death.
He has not even freed us from everything that makes us subject to it, namely the deterioration of our organism and the various sufferings of life.
However, He gave them a redemptive value.
Whereby, each of us is able to say together with Saint Paul: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24).
Therefore, it is fair to say that your mother fulfilled in her own flesh what was lacking in the Passion of Christ (only her personal participation was lacking) in favor of you, who are part of the body of Christ, the Church.
3. About the second point, your observation is also correct.
Of those three who hurt you when you were young and conditioned your life two died after great sufferings
Even if it is almost spontaneous to associate the thought of a great suffering with the sins committed, we absolutely cannot know the reasons for which God allows it.
How many holy people died after great sufferings!
The Lord called them to participate more closely in the sacrifice of His redemption in order to communicate life to many.
4. This could also have happened to those two people who, at that time, had hurt you, maybe even thinking to do your good or the good of others!
But even assuming that they hurt you out of malice, in the due time they might have regretted it , confessed and, somehow, even have made up for that.
Therefore, it is only right to suppress such a judgment as soon as it is formed in our mind.
5. Even for the person who diedin a road accident, who knows for what reasons it happened: personal or other’s carelessness, illness, inattention on the road, a car defect …
What absolutely must not be said is this: The Lord punished him for the sins he committed.
And that for the same reasons mentioned above: how many good people and even saints died by accident!
The first successor of St. Dominic in the leadership of our Order, Blessed Jordan of Saxony, died in a shipwreck.
In this, as in so many other cases, we can only say that it was a misfortune.
In other cases instead, we can claim it was quite predictable, due to voluntary carelessness.
Sometimes it is even possible to think without doubt that the Lord took them before evil would corrupt their hearts, as happened to Saint Rita’s children, or to avoid worse evils.
6. It is certainly a great act of charity to pray for the eternal salvation of those three people who somehow had been your enemies.
St. Thomas says that the prayer is fully answered to those who obey God, who suffer for Him, and to those who pray for their enemies.
I wish you well and I bless you.