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    How can God allow pain and suffering When we are dealing with a major struggle, a serious health concern, the aftermath of a national tragedy, we may wonder where our Father/Mother God was when we were hurting. How could God allow such pain and suffering? How could God allow thousands of people to be killed, and millions to be forever changed? We may decide that it�s better not to have anything to do with such a God than to live with situations that have no simple answers. I think that God understands that we are going through a phase in our grief and that we will hope again. God doesn�t stop pouring out grace and courage and perseverance, just because we are confused. God waits � and in time, we usually do move through our grieving, our doubting, and our uncertainty.

    About six weeks after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, I read in a periodical that �America has moved on from disbelief to anger.� I assume that the writer was sincere in his/her observation that grieving is a process. However, grieving is not a neat package, with each stage completed before moving on to the next, and within a short time, acceptance. I was disturbed by this lack of understanding, because those of us who have suffered loss in the past know that grieving is not a tidy process.

    The disbelief/anger/depression/confusion/acceptance overlap and we may take a couple of steps forward, then move back. You can�t say, �OK, that�s enough grieving. Time to move on. It�s not patriotic to still be angry.�

    And even the time when we reach some acceptance of the situation is not static. Events may come up which cause us to relive the pain; an anniversary, a similar tragedy, a personal problem that �seems� to be unrelated. There are some pains that never go away. I like to say that this pain rests in my heart, and once in a while, I take it out and cry about it. And I am not alone, because God is with me and in me and around me � and never stops caring about my pain � and will sit with me as long as I need.

    � Mary E. Latela

    Excerpt from Blessed are the Peacemakers: Ten Steps to Peace, Liguori Publications, 2003.