The profound problem of evil is a scandal that keeps many people far from God and drives many others away from him. Is it moral evil and sin at work? Yes, but there is more at work. Is it moral evil among those who should be setting an example? Again, yet, but even more so, it is physical evil and suffering. This is evil that we all witness.
Take war, for example, with its deliberate destruction of cities and its unjustifiable slaughter of the elderly and the innocent, of women and children. Such is the scourge of war. Then there are diseases and calamities of all types: earthquakes, floods, droughts, and monsoons which produce massive, multifaceted suffering. Children are torn away from their parents and families are broken up.
How often I have heard my friends express their thoughts on this problem! They ask: “Do you think that, if God existed and were omnipotent, he would allow such slaughter? Would he tolerate the triumph of evil and let thieves live in peace? Would he permit deceivers to get the better of decent people? Would he let human passions be the strongest force on earth?”
The problem of evil, as we can surely see, is the most profound of problems. Understandably, therefore, Christ wanted to resolve this problem. Accordingly, he willed to live here on earth for several years and then, engulfed in suffering, to die in public.
Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.
Conference 10, “The Cross: To baptize suffering and happiness”
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise
Friday evening, 10 September 1943
Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.