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Monday, May 28, 2018

Death Never Has the Last Word: Unanswered Prayers and the Love of God

Sudden death of a loved one leaves us reeling!
Many friends have sent letters of condolence and Masses since they learned of our dear grandson Brendan's suicide. A sudden and unexpected death, whatever the cause, can only be described as evil. As Dr. Eduardo Echeverria states in his article below, "death is evil, an enemy of God! -- darkness and light, truth and falsehood, life and death raging all around us."

And that's exactly where our family is right now, or at least my husband and I. We are in the midst of the whirlwind of wild thoughts and emotions -- the why's and what if's and if only's. And in the midst of it all the crying out to God. "Why are you sleeping; don't you know we are about to perish?"

And yet, in the midst of it all I know with absolute resolute belief that death does not come from God.  Oh yes, he allows it because of free will, but it was Satan who ushered it into the world through seduction and sin. He used the sin of all sins, pride, to bring about man's original sin and continues to do his utmost to bring about a world dedicated to his demonic work. Death he seems to think is his master stroke. Abortion, murder, suicide, euthanasia fill the compartments of his tool box. But despite his devilish work, despite his attacks, we go on as Dr. Echeverria illustrates in his reflection about his little granddaughter Penelope's sudden death from meningitas. I offer Dr. Echeverria's thoughts here for myself, to bolster my own courage, and for others suffering from a sudden death. Let us pray for one another as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

By Dr. Eduardo Echeverria on September 27, 2016

My heart is broken. My beloved granddaughter Penelope Grace Deely, who was only 2 years old, died early Sunday morning at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I was there with the family. In the end, her body proved defenseless against a virulent strain of meningitis. It attacked her suddenly and swiftly. She was dead within 36 hours. As I write, my daughter Genevieve and her husband John are at this moment at a loss to know how they will make their way through their pain and loss.

My youngest daughter Christine raised the question of unanswered prayer in connection with sweet Penny's death. Why would God not answer the prayers of so many people for Penny's life? Does unanswered prayer count against the love of God? That is the crucial question. All things considered unanswered prayer does not count against the love of God for the fundamental reason that our lament has already been answered in the cross of Jesus Christ and through his resurrection.

This is not the answer we want, unquestionably, but it is the only answer we have that puts our lamenting Penny's death in a right and hopeful perspective. Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful. Apart from His Gospel, they overwhelm us. Christ has risen, destroying death by His death (Gaudium et spes 22).