[imc-qc] News - Reflections from PREDA and Fr. Shay Cullen,
Philippines # 163
PREDA Information Office
predair at info.com.ph
Mon Jan 24 17:30:54 PST 2005
(republishing, copying, no restrictions)
By: Father Shay Cullen
The death toll from the greatest natural disaster in living memory has
reached 260,000 dead. Hundreds of thousands of others injured, abandoned,
hungry and homeless. This immense suffering coming so soon after the other
disasters in the Philippines, man made at that, has left us reeling,
wondering and asking why?
The Tsunami, a giant wave triggered by an earthquake under the Indian Ocean
off Indonesia raced at hundreds of miles an hour washing all before it. As
it hit the coasts surrounding the Indian Ocean it obliterated towns,
villages, and resorts entire populations. Nothing could withstand its
power. The only human failure was the lack of warning devices that would
have alerted the coastal communities hours ahead and saved thousands of lives.
What believers ask is where God was in this terrible calamity and most
religious leaders of all faiths try to explain how God was not in it. Some
take a fatalist approach and say it was God's will, most do not. Atheists
say its evidence that there is no God.
If God is compassionate and caring why God allowed this to happen,
believers ask. The Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Vincent
Nicholas emphasized the positive saying at mass that God's light and love
is not wiped out by disasters but they are intensified by them "The light
of God glows more persistently in that awful darkness . It shines in human
heroism, generosity selflessness and courage." The right Reverend Graham
James Bishop of Norwich said that... "God has given us an Earth that lives
and moves. It is alive-that is why we can live. These events were the
starkest possible reminder that what gives life also takes it away."
Some believers understand God as the creative energy from which the cosmos
emerged grew and continues to expand to infinity as sciences have so far
God for them is this all positive energy, the power of infinite goodness
that enabled the cosmos to come be. They understand God as the prime cause
and first mover that brought about the Universe, the creative energy of all
life. They say we are composed of star dust and the earth was indeed formed
from the galactic explosions of collapsing stars and from that all life
emerged. Our bodies are made of this primeval matter our spirit reaches
back to be one with infinite goodness.
The volcanoes, the turbulent climate, the earthquakes are the ongoing
movements of these creative physical forces. The emergence of life from the
chemical soup of these energies and the long history of evolution led to
To be human is to have been formed by these forces and even today having
evolved from them we must continue to live and endure them. Destructive as
they may be we must remember all life emerged from them and in many ways
continues to be sustained by them as they influence climate, earth's
temperature, the ocean currents, the wind and rain they in turn make
possible the continuation of life. To be human is to be an intimate part of
this. We are the children of infinite goodness.
It is more blessed to be than not to be, and since we choose life we accept
to live and respect the forces that give life and can take it away in the
cycle of death and rebirth. The Tsunami is but one sad and destructive part
of the living moving earth.
Our humanity has reached a spiritual and intellectual awareness of this
creative energy, the infinite goodness that is present and emanates through
all matter and all creatures. We are grateful to have life and worship its
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