The presence of suffering and evil in the world is philosophically scandalous, leading some to dismiss "God" as a pious fantasy. Certainly, if we are limited to "human wisdom," then there seems no way out. Yet "God's wisdom," as Paul argues in 1 Corinthians, surpasses our own cleverness, and this wisdom is communicated most profoundly in the "cross" which Jesus tells his disciples daily to pick-up as they follow his way. The cross teaches that suffering and evil need not be avoided, but by grace can be embraced for the sake of growing in faith, hope, and charity. The Lenten season is a perfect time to grow in the ability to "lean into" the cross that comes: fasting to make room for prayer, prayer to grow in knowledge and love of God, and self-giving to put this love of God into action in the world.
-Given at the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel (UST-St. Paul) on February 27, 2020, the Thursday after Ash Wednesday.