In working with patients in the clinic, especially those who have experienced traumatic events in their lives, I discover that many have a difficult time believing in the benevolence of others. On a certain level, this is quite understandable given their lived experiences of malevolence and the impact this has had on them physiologically, psychologically, relationally and spiritually.
Then there are those other persons who, despite undergoing severe trauma in their developmental histories, seem to retain a sense of the goodness of others and of life itself.
The question it raises for me is, “Do you believe in benevolence, even in the face of its apparent absence?”
If answered in the affirmative, it speaks of the working of grace in certain individual’s lives, for only God’s hand could instill an awareness and trust in the good will of others when only pain and distress has been the reality of someone’s life.
It is easy to believe in benevolence when life is good and peace prevails. It is difficult to do so when sin and distress, pain and sickness, betrayal and mistrust have invaded a person’s life.
The benevolence of God is a tenet of our faith. The benevolence of God is always present despite the particulars of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I read with interest today that the Diocese of Rome is opening an inquiry into the canonization of a Vietnamese bishop who was imprisoned and suffered greatly during the latter part of the 20th century. This bishop, despite the most traumatic of circumstances, retain his unshakeable belief in the benevolent presence of God.
God is good. Do we always believe this?
Think of the peace we would experience if we did……