I’ve encountered several actual tragedies recently, and have been asked the question “What am I supposed to do? How do I keep my faith?” These are really hard questions to answer
I’ve been thinking a lot, and I propose 7 thing to consider when facing a tragedy. None of these make it “OK” or can take away the truly terrible feeling of facing down a huge amount of suffering. Suffering sucks, no matter how holy one is.
The opportunity with suffering, however, is different. It gives us an option to try to really become something new. It gives us an opportunity to participate with Christ.
In this episode, I try to come up with some really practical things to think about in the face of a tragedy. Whatever level of suffering you may be facing, you will hopefully find some help here.
You can read the snownotes below!
S02E51 How to Deal with Tragedy
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.
Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels.
In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth’s early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort -and she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.
In 1794, Elizabeth married the wealthy young William Seton, with whom she was deeply in love. The first years of their marriage were happy and prosperous. Elizabeth wrote in her diary at first autumn, “My own home at twenty-the world-that and heaven too-quite impossible.”
This time of Elizabeth’s life was to be a brief moment of earthly happiness before the many deaths and partings she was to suffer. Within four years, William’s father died, leaving the young couple in charge of William’s seven half brothers and sisters, as well as the family’s importing business.
Events moved quickly from there with devastating effect. Both William’s business and health failed. He was finally forced to file a petition of bankruptcy and, in a final attempt to save William’s health, the Setons sailed for Italy, where William had business friends.
Unfortunately, William died of tuberculosis while in Italy. Elizabeth’s one consolation was that he had recently awakened to the things of God.
The many enforced separations from dear ones by death and distance served to draw Elizabeth’s heart to God and eternity. The accepting and embracing of God’s will – “The Will,” as she called it – would be a keynote in her spiritual life.
Elizabeth’s deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church.
At the suggestion of the president of St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city.
On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows and was called Mother Seton.
Although Mother Seton became afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The Rule of the Sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812.
For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her great joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only sixteen years after becoming a Catholic. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963 and was canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.
A wonderful prayer in Saint Elizabeth’s name is:
Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for our fellow men and women. We ask this through Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Story of Tom and his Sister
Story of mom of 6 just diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer
Story of Todd
Story of our pregnancy
- Faith is bone dry
- Physical suffering is not the greatest evil. Life is, afterall, quite short compared to eternity
- Stories of the Saints (Teresa of Avila quote)
- God will give us the grace, if we are open to it (Fr. Riccardo quote)
- Deep down, these become opportunities to really share our deepest selves with others, to create real true intimacy.
- The only alternative is worse (story of Paul).
- Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
- God has created you to be far stronger than you realize. He’s asking you to grow. To level up. To become something more.
- This is never found in peaceful complacency.
- 10 spears go into battle, only one is unbroken. Did the battle forge that spear to be strong? Or did it simply reveal the strength that was already there?
Psalm 23 The Divine Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;[a]
3 he restores my soul.[b]
He leads me in right paths[c]
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely[e] goodness and mercy[f] shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.[g]