Where is God?”

Source: williamslaketribine.com

(Trigger warnings: murder, violence)

Recently I had a spiritual insight – a much needed one. I had been in a state of doubt for weeks because of the recent discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools. What really affected me was learning of the murder of new-born babies: their mothers were forced by nuns to bury them alive.*

My doubt spiralled into despair regarding the Catholic church and God seemed nowhere to be found. I began to question the foundations of my cradle Catholicism. There’s the residential schools; there’s the rampant pedophelia; the lack of recognition of women’s gifts; LGBTQ lack of acknowledgement; financial scandal.

Why should I stay? It got to a point where I asked: has any good come out of God’s living among us when babies are being murdered in God’s name? Would my view change if I went to another church?

When I moved from the question “where is God?” to “who is Jesus?” I found more answers to my existential dilemma. I found that when I matched Jesus’ suffering with someone’s pain, He brought new meaning to the desolation. When I accept Jesus’ preference for the poor, the sick, the lonely I find new meaning in my faith, there is new life.

Jesus is present in the disenfranchised. Jesus is the murdered baby, the abused child, the young or old dying of cancer, the unemployed ex-convict with a criminal record, the LGBTQ parishioner, the silenced women to whom He gives expression.

I have heard for most of my life: “you will find Jesus in the poor”. And I believed it. But I reached a point recently that my past faith was not enough to overcome recent awarenesses.

Through prayer I asked the question: “who is Jesus?”. Through prayer I received the gift of an answer which I now experience at a deeper level – with the heart as well as the mind.

Being honest with God about one’s doubts yields faith.

There is also prayer for the perpetrator. One of our priests at our church regularly prays for perpetrators of violence, “that God may redeem their hearts”. Fr. John does not strike me as a radical individual but this prayer, which he says at every mass, is a radical gesture.

It moves us out of our complacent state of mind and shakes us up into who we are called to be as Christians. We may not always feel like saying this prayer, but it is out there for anyone inclined to utter it.

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 *Eriel Deranger: Reflection on our 215: It could have been us. Indigenous Climate Action, June 3, 2021.

Grace Colella graduated with a Masters in Arts and Ministry in Spirituality degree from Regis College where she also trained as a Spiritual Director. Her love of people, nature and music inspires her to write poems.

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11 Comments
  • Ann Yuhasz
    Posted at 01:30h, 02 October Reply

    That is very serious accusation.

    Do you have proof or are you just repeating what you heard.???
    Violence is spread in different ways.

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 01:48h, 02 October Reply

    So often we are asking ourselves, is God with us or against us when things seemingly go wrong. We have been confronted with so many situations in particular within the Catholic Church that have caused so much pain and anguish. Catholic hospitals, Childrens homes ,Youth centres, so many of these highly regarded places of compassion and safety were in fact dens of depravity. It should never have happened but it did. Now to repair the damage done. Is God still with us YES HE IS . He is helping us now to repair and heal the past wrongs carried out through human error and weakness.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 07:32h, 02 October Reply

    Thank you Grace!

  • Ada MacDonald
    Posted at 12:39h, 02 October Reply

    Very thoughtful Grace. Even if the nuns did not actually bury babies, There are other incidents that bring us to the same reflection.

  • Larry Martell
    Posted at 13:54h, 02 October Reply

    I too, would like to see the evidence – or at least where this occurred

  • Catherine von Zuben
    Posted at 18:48h, 02 October Reply

    I too have the degrees from Regis College of which you speak, but I certainly question what you have written. These are very serious accusations. Having been a member of a Congregation of Religious, never did or will I believe that babies were murdered in God’s name or in any manner in residential schools or elsewhere, by Religious Sisters.

  • Wendy McCreath
    Posted at 21:44h, 02 October Reply

    Yes, Grace has made a very serious accusation, but it has not been pulled out of the air. There is a citation for it, and it is believable, odious as it is. Too many people in Canada have indulged in denial for too long, and it’s time that we all face the ugly truth: our government and our church have sinned grievously against the natural inheritors of this land and against the environment. Great Spirit, show us how to live the good way and how to reconcile with our Indigenous brothers and sisters!

  • Joe Newman SJ
    Posted at 10:58h, 03 October Reply

    “the murder of new-born babies: their mothers were forced by nuns to bury them alive.”
    This is a horrendous accusation! What is the proof that this actually happened? Have any human remains been found in the 215 anomalies discovered by ground radar?

  • John O’Connor
    Posted at 17:30h, 13 October Reply

    Why are you being delinquent in providing the evidence in the burying statement in this post on October 2.
    Please respond to this email confirming your receipt and intended action

  • Grace C.
    Posted at 13:23h, 20 October Reply

    The source of my reflection for igNation blog Oct. 2, 2021 can be Googled at: Eriel Beranger: Reflection on our 215: It could have been us. Indigenous Climate Action. June 3, 2021. It is my only source. Whether the stories Deranger speaks of are true or not (I hope they are not true), despite the Church’s brokenness, it is still home to me.

  • Grace C.
    Posted at 13:25h, 20 October Reply

    correction: the name for the Google is Eriel Deranger: Reflection on our 215: It could have been us. Indigenous Climate Action. June 3, 2021.

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