Dear Father Angelo,
I am a priest, I am writing to you privately and I ask you to reply to me privately, please. I have consecrated my life to Christ for 50 years now. I belong to Him forever, despite my weaknesses. I have supported and sustained many souls on their journey of faith throughout the time of my ministry. There is, however, one question I have been trying to answer to myself and that is causing me a lot of pain; while asking I repeat Jesus’ words: “ “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children”. While in doubt, I tell myself that I want to know too much, and that I should instead give up asking myself certain things and abandon myself into His arms, simply and always. I try to do it, but sometimes that question comes back into my mind. Here is the question: if God is the only Creator, He is free, and at the same time omniscient and infinitely merciful, why did He decide – even if He knows (because He is omniscient) that certain persons are going to Hell – to create them? It is obvious that those people are going to Hell because of their choices; but He knew and He could not have created them, so why did He do it anyway? Was it good to create them, even if He knew where they would have ended up for eternity? After all, Jesus himself said, referring to Judas: “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born!”. Meanwhile, he was born; and who gave birth to him, if not God?”. I apologise, Father Angelo, but I deeply feel that you have a real “father’s heart” and therefore you can understand my pain when I reflect upon this topic. I will be forever thankful to you if you can enlighten me.
I greet you, assuring You that I will remember You in my poor prayer and asking You to remember me in Yours.
Dear Father Pippo,
1. It is beautiful hearing a priest who says: “I have consecrated my life to Christ for 50 years now. I belong to Him forever, despite my weaknesses”. To consecrate means to withdraw a reality from its profane use in order to dedicate it to the worship of God exclusively. Realities removed from their profane use in order to be dedicated to God exclusively can be either places, times, objects, and above all, people.
2. Like the Apostles, you too are among those of whom the Gospel says: “Then Jesus called for those He wanted, and they came to Him… to accompany Him, to be sent out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mc 3,13-15). Jesus called for those He wanted: one day the Lord fixed His gaze on you and loved you in the same way His gaze fell on the rich young man and loved him, that is, He called him.
3. He called you and said you to follow Him. You afterwards put yourself at His total and exclusive service. You too can tell Him now with St. Peter: “Look, we have left everything to follow You” (Mt 19,27). And the Lord replies to you: “Truly I tell you: in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of My name will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life” (Mt 19,28-29).
4. You have been at His service for 50 years: how many have you given the grace of new life through Baptism. How many have you supported in faith, by giving them the bread that communicates eternal life through the preaching and celebration of the Eucharist. For how many and for how many times have you made the sacrifice of Christ present on the altar with his infinite saving power for the benefit of those who were present and of the whole world. How many have you given back the life of grace through the ministry of Confession. You, joined with Christ, carried out the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to you and the Lord worked within faithful people incessantly, obeying your voice somehow. As the great Rosmini said: the priest is one who has power over God.
5. Therefore, I write to you all this in order to get to the question you asked me and to give you the answer. Even men, for their part, by carrying out certain actions – although they are not of a supernatural order – nevertheless command God to intervene. Thus when they are joined by genitality, they perform acts which in the case of conception command God to create and infuse the spiritual soul. It is such a great act that of those who join with procreative capacities that it can even be named as pro-creation. Therefore, it is not God who – apart from Adam and Eve – creates men, but it is men who somehow command God to create their souls.
6. It should be added that starting from this moment God begins to follow individual creatures with a delicate and infinite love that all eternity will not be enough to understand in its significance. You will be involved in the maternal and incessant service and love of Virgin Mary, the assistance of the Angels and Saints. It is an infinite and unspeakable story of love of predilection for every single human being, even for those who are obstinate not to love Him. God’s unspeakable love is manifested in this too: if He foresees that someone will not love Him forever, He does not say: “I do not create you”. He obeys the men who command Him to create his soul, and then He does His part to the extreme, never ceasing to love him madly in order to lead him to Himself. I think the Angels and Saints from Heaven eternally experience the amazement about the boundless love of Christ rejected by men that Isaiah speaks of: “So shall He sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand.” (Is 52,15). “Shall He sprinkle” or “they will marvel at Him”: the Jerusalem Bible together with the Seventy (Greek version of the Old Testament) translates “they will be in amazement”.
I remember you in my prayer with the hope that the Lord will extend your precious ministry beyond measure and I ask you to bless me.
Translated by Rossella Silvestri
Proof edited by Sara Bellei