May 23, 2005

The Rapture & Redemptive Suffering

I think the Rapture as popularized by the Left Behind series is hogwash. And one of the reasons that it sounds implausible is that it's not the divine pattern to arrange for the good to avoid suffering in this life. God shows no favoritism, unless one looks upon the opportunity to suffer as a sign of favoritism. (Do all the saints have that outlook in common? I should ask Kathy Shaidle - see previous post.)

St. Thérèse's father, for example, lapsed into mental illness and was hospitalized for the rest of his life just days after she entered the Carmelite order. An extremely bitter pill for her since she loved him so dearly. But she said that God must love her father very much to allow him to suffer so. It would never occur to her that this was a sign of divine disfavor. Similarly, another sister in her order soon fell ill and the nuns resolved to pray for her but St. Thérèse saw that it would not avail - in a dream she saw that sister with a luminous cross on her back.

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