For those without faith in a loving God it is impossible to realize that suffering can be understood as a gift of God, and it would be impossible to experience that inner joy and peace that absolute trust in God’s providential love alone can bring us, no matter in what situation we find ourselves. It is only with faith in Jesus as the Son of God, who has shared our suffering that we are able to find meaning in suffering. I have often reflected on what the famous dramatist and diplomat of France, Paul Claudel, said with such wisdom and faith: “Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with His presence.” Often it is only long after the suffering has passed, that we begin to understand more fully God’s loving hand in our lives even at that time.
- Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno, who died of cancer yesterday