In the history of philosophy and theology, a great deal of time and energy has been spent on the question; How can a good God permit the existence of evil and suffering?

“You have to know where and how you find Jesus Christ. I can’t tell you that. I know everyone can find Him in the liturgy. I know everyone can find Him in service. I know everyone can find Him in quiet prayer. But you need to know where YOU find Him. If you don’t know that, you won’t understand suffering and you won’t know what to do with it. If you DO know where and how you find Jesus Christ, you still won’t understand suffering completely, but you WILL know what to do with it.” – Dr. Hogan

Description

In the history of philosophy and theology, a great deal of time and energy has been spent on the question; How then can a good God permit the existence of evil and suffering? It’s a legitimate question. But sometimes we spend so much time and energy on the philosophical question that we forget to ask the practical question: What can I do with my suffering?

Jesus never explained why suffering exists. But that didn’t prevent him from putting his suffering to use. In this talk we’ll explore some strategies for following his example: how can we use our suffering more deeply, even if we don’t completely understand it?

Jesus did not come to suppress suffering all at once, nor to explain it, nor to justify it. He came to assume it and to transform it. (Louis Evely, Suffering.)

God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”. The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror. (CCC, 385)

 

Ed Hogan

is a former Jersey Shore lifeguard whose loves to bodysurf. He is the Academic Dean at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, and has a PhD in Systematic Theology from Boston College, where he specialized in the relationship between theology and science. Ed is the Project Leader for a team at Kenrick-Glennon that recently won a $75,000 grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for the integration of science into the Seminary curriculum.

Prior to life in Saint Louis Ed served under (then) Bishop Carlson in the Diocese of Saginaw, MI, as Director of Deacon Formation, Director of the Center for Ministry, and Director of the Department of Formation. He has taught theology on the high school, college, and graduate school levels. Ed is a lector and EMHC at Saint John Paul II parish in Affton. He and his wife Jen have been married for 25 years and have 6 children.