Tragedy and God

My niece is a cradle catholic whose mother ,my sister, died from cancer when she was 5
She is very angry at life Wont acknowledge God. Still hurting. How do you tell her about God’s comfort when He allowed this terrible tragedy?

I am very sorry. How old is your niece now? Or how long ago did this tragedy happen?

Thank you. 25 years ago and my niece is 32 now. My nephew is same. Cant get over her death. Both need counseling but how to get them to lean on God too?

We can’t force people to rely on God (obviously), but we can Pray the Jesus will comfort them and reveal Himself to them in a way that speaks to them.

I lost my Dad when I was in my twenties and I was numb for a couple months following. God gifted me with a dream, which allowed for healing and reconciliation with my Dad and I am very grateful for this opportunity.

We do not always know why bad things happen in our lives, but bad things happened in Jesus’ life too. He knows what it means to suffer and what it means to lose someone dear.

Mary, the mother of our Lord, watched as her son was tortured and nailed to a cross. She too knows what it feels like to watch someone she loves tragically pass.

I think the first thing I would say to your Niece and Nephew is that they are not alone. And that the closest to being near their Mother is at the Sacred Liturgy, where Heaven and Earth meet. Do they still practice their Faith? I would encourage them to bring their anger towards God to Adoration. Just tell God in person, how they feel (God can take it).

I will be Praying for them.

Thank you for yoir thoughtful response and your prayers. They do not practice their faith and amd. both in early 30’s. My mother and I have been praying for them for 25 years. God needs to break in some how. My only answer so far is God is love. And the love for your mother that u feel will never die and she will be waiting for you. That we know. Why God allows tragedy hard to imagine an answer.

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Keep an eye on your Parish’s bulletin. Right now mine is having a grief and loss program to help those dealing with the loss of loved ones. Last year we had one specifically dealing with losing loved one to suicide. Inviting your relatives to accompany you to such services could be a good start.

In the short game though we can just be sure to be there for our family members. Showing them love at all times and giving an example by living a virtuous Catholic life.


Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately I dont live nearby. But i will keep trying to be a Catholic presence in their lives.

Father Richard Simon wrote as the “Rev. Know-It-All.” He often answered people’s questions. Here are one question and answer (his original answer is three pages long; this is a short version):

Dear Rev. Know it all

A good friend of mine at work is a very faith-filled Catholic with a healthy desire to better understand why God allows disease. Her toddler son was recently diagnosed with a rare disorder which could seriously affect him cognitively. It’s a genetic disorder that no one was aware of even existing in the family. She has surrendered the problem over to God, and realizes that this is an opportunity to grow closer and more dependent on God, yet questions why disease exists at all and whether or not God actually “gives” someone a disease.

Thank you,

Ms. Ari Bell

Dear Ari,

You have asked the question. First of all, let me tell you from the start that God does not give anyone a disease. If the Catholic Church believed that God caused disease we would have to close all those Catholic hospitals and stop trying to cure the sick. Lourdes, as well as other healing shrines, would have to be shuttered as being the work of the devil. We Catholics believe in healing, both supernatural and natural. If God caused disease, curing the sick in any way would be resisting His perfect will. We believe that death and sickness entered the world because of the sin of Adam and Eve.

This simple answer doesn’t help at all, does it! It just brings up two more questions. First of all, why do I suffer for the sin of two ancient people, if they existed at all? Second, if God is all powerful and all loving, couldn’t He just wave His almighty hand and make life better? These are two really good points. It’s easy to say that God doesn’t will sickness and suffering, but if He is all powerful, then He at least allows bad things to happen. If we are correct about God, then it is fair to say that nothing in all the universe happens, except with His permission. So, isn’t it fair to say that He is to blame for everything from the Holocaust down to the common cold? Why not blame Adam and Eve or some other poor cave men for the current mess, or for my personal suffering?

… First of all, we Catholics agree that God can do whatever He pleases and that the beauty and order of the Universe are what He pleased. Creation itself is an outflowing and mirror of God’s perfection, imperfect though [the universe] is.…

How can He be all-caring, all-powerful, all-knowing, and I’m still a mess? My answer, which I hope is the Catholic answer, would be a question: Have you looked at a crucifix lately?… If you look closely at the Gospel of John, when Jesus talks about the hour of His glory, He is talking about the crucifixion, not the Resurrection, though you can’t have one without the other.

We want life to be easy. God wants life to be beautiful. We want God to do things for us. God wants to make us His children, sharing His nature. And what is His nature? Love. Real Love. Sacrificial Love, not just sentiment. Jesus said, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We think of perfection as flawlessness. A perfect person is beautiful, brilliant, rich and so on. Remember, the commandment is not “Be perfect.” It is “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. “As” is one of the most important words in the Bible. “Peace I give you, not as the world gives peace.” “Love one another as I have loved you,” not as seen on TV. Love is easy if you define it the way a TV producer does, raging hormones and no problem that can’t be solved in half an hour. Love one another as I have loved you involves nails, a cross, and a crown of thorns. God is love, and love is the goal, but remember that love is defined by the cross.…

The perfection of God is more than His omnipotence or perfect knowledge. It is His unlimited love.…

All of us get sick and all of us die. It is the inheritance that we receive from our first parents. In the first garden, they were offered a gift of love, sacrificial love, and all they had to do was sacrifice the fruit of a tree. They could not trust God even that far. Our inheritance is not just their failure, it is the question they were asked by God and that God still asks of every human being, “Will you trust Me?” Jesus was asked the same question in a different garden, Gethsemane by name. “Will you trust Me?” asked His heavenly Father. He answered, “Father, not as I will, but as You will.” He took what had been stolen from that other tree and placed it back on the Cross, the tree of life, and so by His complete trust he gave love back to the world.

So, disease exists for the same reason that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil existed in the garden of Eden, for the same reason that the cross stood on Calvary’s hill. It is the reason for imperfection in the midst of our yearning for perfection. In the end, love will win. The tears that glisten on a mother’s cheek will not disappear; “they shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). They will shine like gold and diamonds in an infinity of love.

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