Sometimes I am lead to the opinion that Christ, after his resurrection, has completed his mission and is no longer directly involved in the salivation process of humans. He was born of a virgin, completed His mission of establishing God’s church on earth by conquering sin and death through His obedience to the cross and resurrection from the dead and has returned to the Father. Of course, he will involve Himself again when He returns for the general judgment at the end of time. But now He sits at the right hand of the Father and sends out the Holy Spirit as our paraclete, counselor and healer. I feel that I am guided by the Holy Spirit. “In him (Christ) you too learned to believe, and had the seal set on your faith by the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 1:13. Paul tells us that after Christ rose, He sent down the Holy Spirit as our helper and teacher to give us an “inner eye” of discernment. Christ is in Heaven but God “has put everything under his (Christ) dominion, and made him (Christ) the head to which the whole Church is joined, so that the Church is his body, the completion of him who everywhere and in all things is complete.” Ephesians 1:22-23. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ in our Mass today. So Christ is still present on earth in the form of the Eucharist. Thus says Paul, “united in the same Spirit (Holy Spirit), we have access through him (Christ) to the Father (God).” Paul says that Christ has now become the Catholic Church (the body of Christ) and we take part in our redemption through the Eucharist in the Church. Christ becomes our intercessor between man and God “so that God may find in you a dwelling-place for his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22. It is the trinity, then, that begins, takes part in and ends this process for salvation. God, even though we humans have never seen God and may never actually see Him, uses the Son and the Spirit, the two other parts of His divine nature, to accomplish on earth His divine will. Christ, even though He has come and gone, is still with us in the Eucharist enlivened by the Holy Spirit. I can see now that we truly have God with us. Although Christ is no longer physically with us in human form, He still makes Himself available to us through the Eucharist. And of course the trinity is accessible through the Holy Spirit who is always present and waiting to be found by those who would seek Him..
Although God is all good and evil is usually considered a privation, this privation must come from somewhere. A privation is the absence of a good that should be present. An example would be the loss of eyesight by a 21 year old because of glaucoma. Where does this privation come from? Can we say that it is strictly from nature? Many privations are natural. Glaucoma is the result of some genetic defect. Tornados and tsunamis are natural disasters. Defective genes and the forces of nature are by- products of the natural law of nature. An existence of a symbiotic diversity in nature requires natural privations. There is always a counter and opposing good in natural privations that benefits humanity. Glaucoma results in betters eye treatment. Tornados create better constructed house and warning systems. A lion eating a lamb controls the population explosion of lambs. God is not the cause of natural privations.
But where does human privation (evil and sin) come from? There are two types of human evil. Evil Suffered is a privation which an individual undergoes for which he is not personally responsible. (e.g. being born congenitally blind is a passive evil suffered.) Evil suffered also includes things that happen to people as a result of the actions or inactions of other people, an active evil that comes from the outside that causes damage. A bicycle rider run over by an inattentive driver would be evil suffered by the bike rider. On the other hand, Evil Done is active evil [sin], a free choice done with intent. It equates to sin or a fault within a person. Evil done is the intended consequences of a murderer or rapist, for example. It is fault done by one human to another. One suffers evil from the one committing evil. Evil done causes evil suffered. One causes fault and the other receives the fault caused. This fault, sin or evil distorts relationships between the parties, family members and God. Every human privation is an evil suffered or an evil done. God is not the cause of these natural and human privations, unlike many who think that suffering is willed by God. The doctrine of Divine Retribution is error.
If evil suffered and evil done does not come from God or nature, then it must come from the evil one himself, the devil. We know that evil exists in this world. Just look at the actions of men like Hitler, Stalin, and Ted Bundy. If God is all good and created humans in his likeness, then humans are all good at birth. There must exist something in this world that turns man into a capacity to commit evil. Just as God acts in the spiritual world, so does evil. Evil can take possession of human beings, either totally and completely or in varying degrees and durations. If evil works in spirit, then we can only assume that God’s goodness also works in spirit, the Holy Spirit. And God’s spirit is active just as the evil spirit is active. It will either totally conquer someone or come and go in degrees and in varying durations. In our example, we could say that Hitler was completely invaded by the evil spirit and it remained with him until his final judgment of eternal hell at his death. Conversely, Mother Theresa was completely possessed by the Holy Spirit. She gave her entire life for the poor in India and around the world. She may have had short periods of doubt about her mission in life and therefore the Holy Spirit may have temporarily evaded her, but we can be assured that any tests this life handed her were completely resolved at her death. She, if anyone, skipped purgatory and went directly to heaven.
Natural and human privations lead to human suffering. “Suffering is, in itself, an experience of evil. But Christ has made suffering the firmest basis of the definitive good, namely the good of eternal salvation. By his suffering on the Cross, Christ reached the very roots of evil, of sin and death. He conquered the author of evil, Satan, and his permanent rebellion against the Creator. (Sin is conquered by Christ’s obedience and Death, by His resurrection).To the suffering brother or sister Christ discloses and gradually reveals the horizons of the Kingdom of God: the horizons of a world converted to the Creator, of a world free from sin, a world being built on the saving power of love. And slowly but effectively, Christ leads into this world, into this Kingdom of the Father, suffering man, in a certain sense through the very heart of his suffering. For suffering cannot be transformed and changed by a grace from outside, but from within. And Christ through his own salvific suffering is very much present in every human suffering, and can act from within that suffering by the powers of his Spirit of truth, his consoling Spirit…The answer which comes through this sharing, by way of the interior encounter with the Master, is in itself something more than the mere abstract answer to the question about the meaning of suffering. For it is above all a call. It is a vocation. Christ does not explain in the abstract the reasons for suffering, but before all else he says: "Follow me!". Come! Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Through my Cross. Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering of Christ. At the same time, however, from this level of Christ the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man's level and becomes, in a sense, the individual's personal response. It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy…It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption. In that "cosmic" struggle between the spiritual powers of good and evil, spoken of in the Letter to the Ephesians(89), human sufferings, united to the redemptive suffering of Christ, constitute a special support for the powers of good, and open the way to the victory of these salvific powers.” APOSTOLIC LETTER, SALVIFICI DOLORIS, Pope JOHN PAUL II, 1984.