Home Opinion Suffering, human evil, and God’s goodness

Suffering, human evil, and God’s goodness

“God prefers to bring good out of evil rather than not allowing it”, said Saint Augustine.

st augustine
St Augustine

Newsroom (08/27/2020 09:14, Gaudium Press)  — “God prefers to bring good out of evil rather than not allowing it,”  said Saint Augustine. We do the contrary. When we enjoy goodness, we tend to turn it into evil. We become haughty and self-sufficient. On the other hand, the grace of God illuminates our intelligence, strengthens our will, and harmonizes our sensitivity. It returns us to an almost Paradise-like frame of mind. Consolation and prosperity, both spiritual and physical, seem to load us with joy. Everything around us seems more bearable and beautiful.

Temptation will always be present: “You will be like gods.”

Experiencing good mental disposition and even physical well-being, we seem to rekindle in the depths of our souls, the serpent’s temptation to Eve: “You will be like gods.”

The Imitation of Christ states that we are delighted with the gift and forget the giver. With the treasure in our possession, we quickly step away from God. We enjoy it eagerly and intemperately, according to our opinion and criteria. We do not share it; at best share it with whoever we want, without measuring its misuse. Then God allows us to stumble and lovingly calls our attention by correcting our behavior.  If we comply, it will certainly bring out a greater good for us.  Pain, suffering, disease, humiliation, failure, and disappointment serve as medicine that comforts or cures us.

Learning to suffer with gratitude and hope is the key to Father Pederzini’s book (1). Are pain and suffering good for anything? He states that their purpose cannot be outside of God’s plans for each of us. He cannot let us suffer for some useless or cruel motive.

Evil and hate are the absence of good and love.

The Church teaches that evil and hate are the absence of good and love. They do not come from God, but from sin. St. Thomas gives the example of partly rotten fruit. In that rotten part, there is no longer fruit but rot. Although it is still fruit and has not lost its essence, it is no longer what you can call a fruit. It transforms into something different. Even though it retains a distant appearance of the fruit it was, it is only a deception.


But God draws good from something bad; a painful fall into sin, an accident, a disease, a distressing betrayal. They are enough to learn to wait with patience, trust, and absolute faith.  These are precisely the virtues tested on today’s puzzled souls. Many of them do not know what to think about the world’s situation and what is coming.   In his book, Mons. Novello Pederzini states that suffering makes a man mature. It helps him know himself, refines him, and elevates his spirit. A man who has not suffered is not fulfilled.

But we are speaking about pain that sometimes seems incomprehensible; unexpected, sudden, deep pains. They knock on the door and enter without asking permission or answering. They plant themselves in our lives and develop into serious, grim, and thoughtful traveling companions. If we welcome them without complaints or resentments, they turn into excellent advisers. We are not referring to some minor, daily annoyances; but rather about great and transcendental suffering. We crouch under their weight. They bring us worrisome, sleepless nights.

Whoever handles suffering handles the course of history.

Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira once said that whosoever handles suffering, and admits it out of respect and love for the Will of God, also handles the true course of history. Those souls will give way to events that will glorify God and save mankind.

By Antonio Borda


(1) Mons. Novello Pederzini (1923-2018), “To suffer less, to suffer better”, Ed. Sin Fronteras. Quito.

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