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Yearning book

Those of us who consider it important to know and love Jesus Christ find ourselves frustrated by the difficulty of convincing others. Over the centuries, a great many Catholic thinkers have turned their attention to questions of apologetics, spiritual development and conversion in the hope of finding the most effective approaches. Even if we recognize that people are initially attracted to Christ and the Church in very different ways, we still want to know how to make the best possible case.
That is why I am so interested in Fr. Robert Spitzer's new project, a four volume treatment of human happiness, suffering and transcendence. Spitzer's goal is to demonstrate that human persons are transcendent beings, oriented to a spiritual and even supernatural end, and that the Revelation of Jesus Christ gives us the guidance we need to actualize this transcendence, respond positively to suffering, and find ultimate happiness in God. 
By Dr. Jeff Mirus, one of the chief writers for

 How can I determine if my son is cursed (by God) because of a demand I made to God.
                   Thanks, Eileen

Hello Eileen,

Grace and Peace,
Sorry you didn't get Father Spitzer to answer your question. He is traveling right now and he is also working long days, 7 days per week. I'm a 70 year old catechist (30+ years and bible study leader for over 30 years) and I have worked with Father Spitzer for 6 years. Let's see if I can help with your question.

You are way to hard on yourself and quite unfair to God. As much as you love your son, imagine how much more, and how much more perfectly, God must love us. You would never want bad things to happen to your child even if he asked for something that you knew was not in his best interest. Luke 11:11 asks us, "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?" and similarly, Matthew 7:9 asks us, "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" Asking for a son is not a bad thing to do but bartering with God is never encouraged. We really don't have much leverage to barter with our creator. Obviously, what we ask God for is often what we think we want but God answers our prayers according to what we need.

The same with all of your other examples, your uncle's "sacrifice" etc. God does NOT go around looking to get even with us. He loved us enough to send Jesus to die on a cross for our redemption. We are all born into an imperfect world. If everything was perfect, there would be nothing we could do to help others or ourselves. No one would ever need our help. What could we possibly add to a perfect world? If you take a step back and read your own letter, you will see the individuals who are suffering are doing so because of the second greatest gift God gave us at creation - free will (the greatest gift was our soul). Without free will, we would be robots. We could never choose to love God or do good, we would do it because we would be programmed to do so. The downside of free will is we can choose good things or bad things. Your son has obviously chosen some bad things in his life. Your uncle chose many bad things and continued to choose them even though he knew they were, in fact, killing him.

Many years ago, during a retreat led by a dear friend of mine, Fr. Jim O'Bryan, a woman said to him, "Sometimes I feel like God is out to get me." His answer was perfect, "One thing for sure, if God is out to get you, he's going to get you." He then went on to explain how this was such a ludicrous thought - that God would be interested in getting even when his unconditional love is simply looking for us to turn to Him. No different than you would do for your son. Looking at the quotes above from Luke and Matthew, who among us would ever be "out to get" our children? I am attaching two articles by Father Spitzer. The first should help explain where suffering really comes from and the second is "Getting Started on Prayer. It's time to start getting to know God a bit better and seeing if you are ready to do His will. We should start off each day saying, "Lord, help me to know your will and give me the strength to do your will." I say this before I get out of bed every morning. I don't always do His will but I'm always trying. When I don't, it is because of that free will thing, it isn't because God made me do anything bad. 

"For Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."
- St. Augustine, The Confessions

Mike Noggle
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Father Robert Spitzer

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 16, 1952, Fr. Spitzer is a Catholic Priest in the Jesuit order, and is currently the President of the Magis Center and the Spitzer Center.

Learn More about Father Spitzer
13280 Chapman Avenue
Garden Grove, Ca. 92840-4400