A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Faith and Disaster

I know my faith in God is not an insurance policy against disaster. God made no such promise. His promise is more modest: do not be afraid I am with you.

Fr Denis O'Hagan sm

by Fr Denis O'Hagan sm

When the response to the earthquake moved from a “rescue” to “recovery”, for many hundreds of people this  dimmed almost to extinction any expectation that they will see their beloved again.  They now move to another level of hope – or to complete loss of hope.

I have no idea why tragic events occur. I am left with a choice: life has no meaning and purpose and is just a collection of random events, or there is meaning and purpose, but it is beyond my ability to comprehend. Both conclusions require an act of faith; I find it easier to believe that life has a meaning.

Some times it is possible to discover how things happen – the tectonic plates shifted. The ultimate “whys” however elude me. Why is it thus?  Couldn’t God have made a safer world for us to live in?


I find it impossible to believe that any being of such nobility, grandeur and beauty as a human person, is simply an ephemeral ripple on the surface of reality that has emerged from nothing and returns to nothing. I believe that I was born out of love, that I am sustained by love and that I will return into love.

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