Firefighters recover a crucifix from a damaged church in the village of Rio, some 10 kms from the central Italian village of Amatrice, on August 28, 2016, four days after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the region, killing nearly 300 people. Shoddy, price-cutting renovations, in breach of local building regulations, could be partly to blame for the high death toll from this week's devastating earthquake in central Italy, according to a prosecutor investigating the disaster. As questions mount over the deaths of nearly 300 people, prosecutor Giuseppe Saieva indicated that property owners who commissioned suspected sub-standard work could be held responsible for contributing to the quake's deadly impact. / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

After the earthquake of August 24th, this question seems to occur with greater insistence and duration than during other similar disasters. It is noteworthy that the question is asked perhaps more by non believers, those who do not consider God. Like Voltaire during the great Lisbon earthquake, they emphasise that God does not exist because a good God would not cause these tragedies or allow them to happen. The question was repeated by priests and bishops who responding in kind, say that faith is a gift and allow for the uncon-vincing inscrutability of God. Having abandoned God, if there is one in Himself, a big fuss is made to look for human faults to punish and prevent what is felt as unbearable and a rampant injustice. In fact an earthquake is a horrible amplification of the tremor that dominates life and which is always shaken by violence and disease until it is buried in death. When an earthquake reaches us in our home, it helps us to see that we are nothing, that the earth on which we place the firmness of our steps is itself insecure. Seriously!

Where is God? Whether this question be a blasphemy or an entreaty it is not only justified, it should be a
permanent question because it represents a cry in search of meaning or rather, of hope for life. It is a concrete factual question because if God exists He must be somewhere, visible and accessible. In all its beauty and charm, the world is afflicted by a mysterious disease which inexorably kills. It is a pervasive evil in nature, and in the human heart which can be both so great as well as criminal and petty. The Bible says that the state of man rebelling against God and wanting to be independent of Him condemned his condition to that of a limited and mortal creature. The Gospel says that God has not resigned to leaving man alone with his fragile freedom. He was made man and he shared his mortal destiny so that man realises that in adhering to the truth and friendship with Him, everything can resurrect and start anew. A man among men, He has left the trail of the Church so that the recognition of the presence of God in the world be an experience and not just an uncertain thought.
We must recognise that in the greatest tragedies, along with an endless pain there definitely arise in some
and often in many, an unlimited kindness and self-denial. This hand reaching out against the hostility of
nature and men, is a sign of hope for those who rest in it or who simply see it. In recent days, Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been sanctified. Her frail figure has shown the world a great example of the struggle against intense daily despair as a sign that despite everything, we can affirm life. Mother Teresa said she did every-thing for Him, for Christ and many do likewise for the same reasons and continue to do so. Many believers and those of no faith alike, look to her seeking the support of hope and goodwill which are so desired yet so precarious. Many of her own and those like her, seek what the Gospel came to announce to those who wonder where God is: God is close to us and saves us.

Originally published on: Tempi

Date: 12 September 2016
Author: Giancarlo Cesana
Link: here