I recently received a thank you letter from the founder and president of the Italian American Museum in Manhattan. According to the letter, the Italian Minister of Cultural Affairs in Italy has asked the museum to focus their efforts on the reconstruction of the National Museum of Abruzzo. He wrote, The rebirth of a people starts by the culture. A restored museum will contribute to heal the hurt souls of people from Abruzzo.
Many churches were also damaged and I hope there will be efforts by Catholic Churches in our country to help in the restoration of those damaged churches. I would imagine that the faith of some people were shaken, understandably so, especially those who have lost loved ones in that tragic event. I pray there are people of strong faith, both religious and lay, who are building up and encouraging the people of the devastated towns. I hope their faith remains strong, in the midst of their suffering.
Suffering only makes sense when we unite it to Jesus' suffering on the Cross and realize it's redemptive value. Suffering can only be endured when there are caring people willing to comfort, help, listen and show compassion. When faced with suffering, a wise old priest once said, the ultimate question is not, 'Why?' but 'What?'. What am I to do in response to this suffering? What is the Lord asking of me in these particular circumstances? And then the work of faith and hope and love begin. That quote was in a Sisters of Life newsletter that I saved because it contained many good insights on suffering. Also, in the newsletter, Mother Agnes wrote that, "In Christ and in Christ alone, suffering no longer has the last word, but love does." She quoted the late Cardinal O'Connor who used to say, "Do not waste your suffering!"