Grace and evil

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

This truth of our faith is very important to keep in mind always and to act according to it whenever some form of evil comes our way. When difficulties, temptations and sin itself would fall on us, let’s never forget that such a situation is a wonderful occasion to go to God who will always come to our rescue.

This truth is based on what Christ himself said. Even if the immediate context of these words of his is about the impending end of the world, they can also be applied to any situation where we can find ourselves in some predicament. Let us analyze once again these words (cfr. Lk 21,9-19) to discern some helpful implications from them.

“When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” We can also interpret these words as Christ reassuring us not to worry at all when difficulties, temptations and sin get in our way.

“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.”

With these words, we should be ready to face all kinds of difficulties and temptations and other forms of evil to come to us. But for all this, Christ makes this reassuring message: “AND SO YOU WILL BEAR TESTIMONY TO ME.” In other words, we have to use the evils that come our way as an occasion to bear witness to Christ.

And Christ himself reassures us that he will come to our rescue. He said, “Make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict…Stand firm, and you will win life.”

No wonder, St. Paul said, “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Rom 5,20) And so his reaction to all kinds of evil and human weakness hounding him can be described in these words of his:

“Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12,9-10)

If we have this attitude of St. Paul, we can also expect to reflect the calming effects St. Paul felt when assailed by all sorts of predicaments. He described it this way: “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed…” (2 Cor 4,8-10)

Indeed, if we manage to correspond to God’s presence, grace and designs for us especially in our difficulties, we may not be exempted from suffering but we would be able to bear everything, and somehow would still be happy since we know that everything has meaning, has a purpose, and it’s always for our own good.

It is important that we always be guided by our faith and love for God who takes care of everything. As St. Paul would put it, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8,28)

We should not worry at all. What we have to do is to go back to God as fast as we can. He will always welcome us back. We should just go home to him!