Thursday, August 29, 2019

My Loser Team?


As we were nearing the end of the dramatic NBA (basketball) finals, I half-jokingly said to our son one night at dinner, “What should I write about on my next blog?” to which he quickly replied, “Your loser team.”

You see, throughout the ramp up to the final games, I was supporting the Toronto Raptors.  I have no idea why.  I really don’t need a reason.  They seemed to be playing well, so I figured, “Why not root for them?”

But when it came down to Golden State versus Toronto, I switched and had to cheer for the home team—Golden State—or as my son said, my “loser team.” 

Turns out he was right.

Anyway, when it comes to winning and losing in the spirit world, I am happy to know that God is victorious over evil. I find that very comforting, but the challenge for believers is to remember it when evil does happen.  The tendency is to ask, “Where was God when this was going on?”

The answer, of course, is that God is right there.  So why then, does evil exist?  That is an age old question, but let’s consider it anyway.

It really comes down to the fact that out of his love for us, when God set things up, he gave us free will.  That means that he does not sit up in heaven like a puppeteer, manipulating strings.  If he did that, we wouldn’t have free will.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is always a great resource, says that God gave us the dignity to “initiate and control” our own actions, and that leaving us to our own counsel, he gave us the opportunity to freely seek him, our Creator. (CCC 1730)

God gives us this freedom “to act or not to act, to do this or that” which has its roots in reason and will.  Simply put, “By free will one shapes one’s own life.” (CCC 1731)

That’s no small thing.  Think about it.  We have the freedom to seek God, the freedom to act and the freedom to shape our own life!  And, as it turns out, we also can impact positively or negatively the lives of others.

Now you would think in this “it’s my choice” culture, all this freedom we have would be attractive, but it first requires the recognition that free will is a gift given us by God, that it is not something we created for ourselves.

That’s where it gets tricky because it means we must acknowledge that there is one greater than ourselves—God.

The Catechism tells us that we actually become freer the more we choose good.  “The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC 1733)

Now check this out—but take your time with it! (CCC 385)

“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. . . 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.”

So there we have it, rather than questioning God about the existence of evil, we would be wise to take the advice of St. Augustine and fix our “eyes of faith” on God who can conqueror it and trust in him, for it is true that God is victorious over evil.

Let’s be clear:  if you are a person of faith, you are definitely not on a “loser team!”

Janet Cassidy

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