Hi my name’s father Mike Schmitz and
this is Ascension Presents. A number of years ago, a friend of mine had another
friend who just this tragic tragic case where he was taking care of his newborn
baby and changing the baby on a high table and he turned away just to grab a
diaper and when he turned away the baby rolled over and rolled off the
table and died. So awful. Now I want to pause and just say I know that some of you have experienced things just like that or maybe even worse and what a
lot of people say and said to this guy and what a lot of people will have said
probably have said to you is, in trying to comfort, trying to offer some kind of consolation has been, “Well this is part of God’s plan, this is for some reason we don’t understand it but this is all part of God’s plan.” and the thing is we just
have to understand we have to realize this: As Catholic Christians,
that’s not true, that’s just not true. That is not part of God’s plan and
we have to stop saying that Here’s the reason why:
Because sometimes we like to think, “Well, God’s in control, God’s in control.
God’s in control of everything.” And yes and no. I would say this, I would say
God’s intimately involved with everything, but God is not in control of
everything and and he did this on purpose. Now God is all-powerful, absolutely.
God is omnipotent is the word, right? So God is all-powerful and so he
could be in control of every little detail but here’s the crazy thing:
as Catholic Christians, in our Judeo-Christian view of revelation, reveals to us that God is independent of all creation.
He’s the source of all being. The moment that God created anything outside of himself, he gave up voluntarily, gave up a degree of power. What I mean by that is,
the moment that God created something like physics and thermal dynamics and things
like circles and squares, he gave up his power over there being the possibility of there being a circular square, square-circle, or the possibility that physics
doesn’t work. The moment God created anything outside of himself, He gave up a certain degree of his power. The moment God created free human
beings or free angelic beings, he gave up a certain degree of his power, that he’s not in control of you. He’s not in control of the angels unless we submit our wills to his. But we all know this, right? We know this was what sin is, when
I say to God, “I know what you want but I’m gonna do what I want anyways.” and we think we look at that and we’re like, especially the midst of war and midst of
violence and midst of heartbreak, we’re like, “No, actually God it would
be really awesome if you could just take away some human freedom “and give us, give me back my child, give me back my mom and dad.” “Take away, actually God, take
control and let your will be done.” But God wills that you and I retain our
freedom and that this world still acts according to certain laws. Now we know that God did not make death. In fact the book of Wisdom in the Old Testament says, “God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” So when someone dies, that’s not God’s will. That’s not part of God’s plan.
That doesn’t mean that God is distant. That doesn’t mean that He
doesn’t care, doesn’t mean He’s disengaged. God is intimately, intimately
involved with every moment of our lives. In fact, what did Jesus say? He said that there’s not one sparrow that can fall from the sky that God does not know about it and apparently care about it. God is deep deeply intimately involved
in every element of our lives, but that doesn’t mean that everything that
happens is therefore part of his plan. Because we could say it’s all in God’s will.
Yep, we say, “All is God’s will.” We need to make a very important distinction:
there’s such a thing as God’s perfect will. Those are the things that he directly wills,
that he directly wants to happen. Now, we have to understand that God’s character, his very essence is goodness, is life, is love, is reason, is wisdom: all these good things and so whenever there is life and love
and joy and wisdom and truth, all of those things, beauty, they’re always,
they’re all some part of his directly willing those things. When evil things happen, that is not part of God’s perfect will. That’s part of what we refer to as God’s permissive will:
That he allows it to happen. So when someone says about the child who fell off the table and they died, “part of God’s plan.” No, false!
That is not plan A. God allowed that to happen; it’s his
permissive will, but he did not want that to happen. He allowed it to happen but he did not want it to happen. But because he created a world where he’s not a tyrant,
where he’s not in control of every little thing, because he created a world like that,
those things happen now. But you think again, let’s go back to this:
but God, why don’t you just take it away? I want You to take away some freedom, turn off the laws of physics, turn off the laws of thermodynamics, turn off the stuff in the air that can poison us and kill us, like do something about that. There’s two reasons why God doesn’t violate our free human will: (at least two) One reason is because apparently God deems the retention of our freedom as a greater good than even the momentary suspension of human freedom for human security and safety. I don’t get it
but if God’s good, then I have to, I’m going to trust that. The second reason is because
God knows that even in the midst of the worst evil, he can bring about a greater good. We know that this is true. God did not will that Jesus died.
That’s not part of his perfect will, that’s part of his permissive will.
He allowed that to happen and Jesus allowed that to happen to him. He offered himself up in that but that’s not part of God’s perfect will. He allowed it to happen,
knowing that he could bring about a greater good. Think of the worst thing that
ever happened in human history: God became human, became vulnerable and we killed him. That led to the greatest thing that ever happened in human history. Because even though we killed God, God saved us. So God allows these things to happen not because he wants them to happen but because he knows a) that freedom is a greater good b) that he can bring about a greater redemption through even the worst stuff that happens, because one of the things, this isn’t just a word of hope because it
sounds like “Well gosh, God’s just going to let anything happen.” No, no. Not exactly. God does not will evil and even when evil happens,
it does not thwart God’s plan. When someone dies that wasn’t necessarily part of God’s plan but it doesn’t thwart God’s plan. When someone is attacked and brutalized, violated,
that was not part of God’s plan but that still does not thwart God’s plan.
God knows that I can take this broken thing and make it whole again. He can take your destroyed heart, your destroyed life and he can bring it back to life. God can take
even stuff that is dead and bring it to life. Hang in there.
He can bring about a greater good. Don’t give up. God not only can, he wants to.
His perfect will is that he brings about a greater good, even through stuff that we just don’t get,
even through death, even through accidents, even through disease and that should give us hope. From all of us here at Ascension Presents,
my name’s Father Mike