Q: I am a lay contemplative catholic who would greatly appreciate your insight on the following matter. I see a world of one creator who has created both hell and heaven. who is responsible for giving each of us all of our gifts from bliss to the darker sides of our humanity, pride, selfishness, etc. He or she has also given us all of our thoughts from reason and enlightenment to irrational and destructive. Mixed in each of us is some freedom but where freedom actually exists or where it is but an illusion is something that is often too clouded to know. What is clear though is that all humanity is viewed with loving mercy. The kind that Pope Frances speaks of but that many overly religious are blinded to. There is in the end our silence with our creator or simply Mercy itself who is ever welcoming. I don’t understand the mystery of evil. But I do trust that somehow in the end mercy will prevail. Are these conclusions sound or am I missing something, or maybe rationalizing?
A: You wrote, “I don’t understand the mystery of evil. But I do trust that somehow in the end mercy will prevail. Are these conclusions sound or am I missing something, or maybe rationalizing?” Your conclusions are sound. We believe that our God has created all. The darker side of our humanity is part of the overall challenge of our spiritual journey. I am reminded of the Scripture concerning the wheat and the weeds (see Matthew 13:24-30). The master of the house asked that they grow together, knowing they will be sorted out at the end of the world. I have always pictured this as a symbol of each one of us with the weeds and the wheat growing together in us; we tend to both as the circumstances of life manifest themselves. It is a reminder to us that we will never have it all together as long as we are simply looking at ourselves, but that we have it all together when we bring God into the mix of mercifully dealing with the evil in our lives ‚Äì primarily our weaknesses and our mistakes.
I understand that evil has come into the world through many avenues but primarily through our choices. It is the manifestation of poor choices that have diverse unintended consequences. As we transform our decision making into discernment, allowing the Holy Spirit to do her work within us through her gifts and fruit, then evil begins to dissipate and the good in each of us and in the world becomes more noticeable. The strength of the wheat in time overcomes the weeds as we ‚Äúroot out‚Äù the evil in us, primarily through our daily consent in Centering Prayer. We are all dependent on the love and mercy of God.
The power of the Lord’s Prayer celebrates this tension: ‚ÄúForgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.‚Äù