It all started when a disgusting person was being characteristically disgusting on Twitter.
I don’t want to involve myself with people who say and do revolting things just to hurt others and make a scene. I don’t even want to say his name, but you all know it. It’s a person who publicly admitted to having had “liaisons with men” and “live-in relationships with homosexual men” and I wouldn’t care at all if he had, except that he’s constantly spreading conspiracy theories about LGBTQ people while milking his own alleged conversion-from-being-LGBTQ story for his fans. Today he referred to Father Martin as “Brokeback” on Twitter and accused him of the “embrace of anal sex.”
I don’t even want to think about that person.
But the screenshot kept circulating, and I kept being forced to think about that person, and now I have to talk about something else he said a long time ago.
Trying to see if I remembered the details correctly, I googled his “testimony” and read up on it. You don’t have to watch him on video; the transcript is all written out.
Many of you know the story of my mother’s prayers and sacrifices and pleading to God on my behalf that I give up my sinful life and return home to the Church. As a last resort, she prayed to be given whatever suffering needed so that I would be granted sufficient grace to revert. It was shortly after that prayer that her very early stage stomach cancer was detected, which she died from a few years later.
During the last year of her life, I began to change by beginning to frequent the sacraments more often. When my mom died, I pledged at her coffin that I would change. I said, “Mom, what you went through for me, you will not have gone through in vain.” I returned fully and completely to the Faith and close to two years later, I began this apostolate.
I was thrilled, over the top with gratitude for what God had done for me through my mom and her suffering.
That’s the god I was raised with.
That right there is what I was taught to call good, and to worship.
That vindictive, sadistic, tormenting god who answers a mother’s prayer by smiting her with a terminal illness and torturing her to death by inches, was presented to me as the God of Mercy.
I was told that God regularly smites people with terrible illnesses, so that He can use their agony to ransom other people from His own self. It was called “being a victim soul.”
Make no mistake, God cannot do evil. Evil exists in the beautiful world God created for mysterious reasons we can’t understand, but God hates evil. God hates evil so much that He decided to infiltrate evil from the inside. He descended from Heaven to Earth to be incarnate of the Virgin, so that He could defeat evil. He lived a life among us, like us in all things but sin, and submitted to the worst evil His culture could manage to do to Him so that being a victim of evil could become a godly thing, and so that every person who has ever been the victim of evil would find their experience untied with the Life of God. He chose to use that experience to open the door to Paradise, when He could have used anything else He wished or just opened the door by willing it. He did that so that our suffering would also become a prayer, and be united to His suffering, and would never be without value. But the evil things that happen to us are not His will.
This beautiful truth has been corrupted by a certain school of Catholicism. And a certain type of Catholic tells vulnerable people that God sends them sickness and misfortune on purpose, so that they can suffer, so that God can use that suffering to ransom other evil people from his own self.
I am chronically ill. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was thirty-six. Before then, I just had a hodgepodge of ugly and agonizing health problems that seemed to come from nowhere without cause from the time I was a little girl crying over the toilet with severe bowel pain in Kindergarten. And I was told that God had given me this suffering, as a weird sort of present, for somebody else’s sake.
I was told more than once that He chose me to suffer so He could bargain with His own self and ransom sinners. I was called a “suffering servant” sometimes. I felt guilty that I couldn’t bring myself to like God for putting me through all of that.
When I was a young woman I had a bowel obstruction that went undetected for a few days until I was severely dilated and ready to rupture. I ended up in the hospital with a thick stapled incision from my breastbone all the way down to my pelvis, and a nearly as painful plastic tube stuffed up my nose through the eustachian tube to the stomach. Someone who should have known better visited me in the hospital, prayed over me, and told me she had a Word from the Lord that I’d been given this suffering to save the unborn babies.
It took the longest time to accept that God didn’t do that to me.
That God didn’t do that to me, is a truth I’ve had to remind myself of time after time. Every time I have a bad day I find myself cringing from Christ as if my bad day was something He smacked me with on purpose to save souls. But I remind myself again and again that it isn’t true.
I have no explanation for the problem of evil, but the problem of evil is not explained by that terrible lie.
The One Who is pure love, doesn’t twist up people’s intestines to trade them for others, and it’s heresy to say that He does.
The most Christian thing you can ever do is renounce the abusive false God of the Catholic alt right, his sadism, his pettiness, his vindictiveness, his pomps and works and empty promises. Such a monstrosity is not worthy of your worship. Blaspheming that idol is an act of reverence to the real God. If the only god you’ve ever been shown is the evil God who tortures victim souls, then becoming an atheist is a step in the right direction toward the Kingdom of Heaven. If you somehow went to hell for defying that beast, your descent into hell would be as blessed an act as Christ’s.
God doesn’t want you to suffer. Since you’re going to suffer anyway, Christ is determined to suffer with you and to make your suffering meaningful, but Our Father in Heaven is not an abusive old drunk who hurts his children. He can’t be.
If you learn one thing from me, I pray that it’s this: a God who would smite another person to make them suffer is the devil.
The real God isn’t anything like that.
That’s all I have to say about the kerfuffle on Twitter today. And it’s not really about the kerfuffle on Twitter.
And now I’ll go back to not thinking about that person.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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