Chuck asked:

A lot of us suffer and some suffer much more than others ... We know we're not perfect and can't enter the kingdom of God unless we are. Therefore we go to purgatory. Some of us will serve our purgatory here on Earth is that correct?

Fr. Sebastian Walshe replied:

"God allows us to suffer often precisely so we see we need his mercy ... We can be blind to our own sinfulness and blind to the fact that we need God ... It is precisely through our suffering that we see that we're incapable of making ourselves happy. We see that we need to depend on someone else. We need a savior ... God's justice so to speak is necessary so that we'll know that we have need for mercy ... It's in those times of suffering that you spend more time praying than any other."

Mark's take:

This is a popular question, and I've heard other guests comment that a greater good can come out of someone's suffering. Much like Job, who are we to know, or even be able to comprehend God's big plan and where this suffering fits into it?

My gut reaction to this question (and maybe I'm being obtuse here) is that life is random. God isn't out to get anyone. God doesn't sit in heaven watching us down here just waiting to throw an obstacle into our way at opportune times. There is also something called free will which God gives us. Some just choose to do good, while others choose to do evil.

In defense of my position I would cite Matthew 5:44-45

"But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."


Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: August 30, 2013

Name of show: Justice and Mercy

Guest comments by: Fr. Sebastian Walshe

Question appeared in show: 11:10

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