These two pictures of Norcia’s main square are, not only for Italians, a true pain to behold. Beside the loss of human life that such an earthquake very probably caused, the loss of beauty, and particularly the grave damage to monuments to the Christian faith, is particularly sad.
At this point, the senseless Atheist cries (feeling, no doubt, very smug) “if there is a God, why this suffering?” You might meet one of those when the talk is about earthquakes, and the like.
You may want to answer that the earthquake, and the famine, and the tsunami, and the rest, are our fault.
Yes, our fault.
Our rebellion causes nature to rebel to us. In the Garden of Eden there were no earthquakes, not even tiny ones. The harmony of everything was the logical consequence of the harmonious obedience of man to God.
The Fall puts an end to this. The Fall is a fundamental subversion of the established order not only concerning the relationship between man and God, but between man and nature.
The Fall made of the Garden of Eden a Vale of Tears. As man will not be obedient to God, nature will not be subservient to man. Disease, earthquake, famine, death are the consequence of this fundamental breaking of the divine order.
The monks in Norcia understand this. As we pray for them, I am sure that they not only help the local population, but pray for us. They are under no illusion as to the nature of the world we now (after the Fall) have to live in.
Unfortunately, the message that every earthquake, every tsunami, every tragedy also carries – and which is understood by the smart and the humble – will not be grasped by those whose little, limited intellect is the only measure of right and wrong, and who do not recognise anything above them.
Still, like every other tragedy, this one will wake up some. in our little sphere of influence, we should try to make others profit from even such disgraces.
Particularly when we are challenged by the “if there is a God…”-crowd.