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First Son, upon witnessing photos of New Orleans.
“How many people have died?”
“Never mind, son. What matters is that many, many people have had their lives devastated.”
“Why is God doing this?”
“I don’t know.”
The wife: “Sometimes people get so wrapped up in stuff that they forget about the things that really matter, like love. Maybe God wants to help people remember love. God loves the poor; he sends special graces to them.”
“It seems like too harsh a punishment.”
“It’s not a punishment, son.”
“It’s the end of the world!”
“No, son. It’s not. Go say a prayer for them.”

Not the best handling. He caught me off guard; I was still floored by the wreck.


  1. That’s a tough one, Matthew. Would it help to explain that storms in general are an important & necessary part of our weather system? They can be devastating, terribly devastating, but they are also crucial. Maybe it is too dense. I just don’t know. The only thing I do know is that weather isn’t a punishment. We just sometimes get in its way.

  2. Plato's Stepchild says

    While it is not finished, in addition to CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, I recommend St Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on the Book of Job.

  3. interstingly enough I learned a lot about how to explain suffering to my children from a book by a Jesuit called “The Pain and the Joy.” Wish I could remember the name of the priest. It was a short book. I will have to dig it out and let you know.


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