God, You’re Breaking My Heart is a new book by Brian Grogan SJ exploring the problem of evil and suffering and the possibilities of a powerful spiritual response to it. It’s the fruit of the author’s personal experience of suffering and pain after the death by suicide of his sister-in-law, and many years reflecting on its possible meaning in a Christian faith context. In an interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications he explores some of the issues he addresses in the book.
Not surprisingly, Brian says there are no easy answers to the questions that evil and suffering pose to one who believes in an all-powerful, all-loving God. But at its core he believes that God doesn’t really break our hearts. God does, however, permit them to be broken open, and from this there may come people of love who bring about change in the world, transforming evil and suffering into good. And for Brian, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, this paschal mystery, is the key locus of this type of transformation.
Among the many helpful accounts, stories and illustrations in this book is a quote from the Franciscan author and preacher Richard Rohr, who once said, “Whatever pain is not transformed is transmitted.” As human beings none of us will escape pain or suffering or the effects of evil in the world. The question is what we do with the pain within us or inflicted from without. If we do not allow ourselves and our pain to be transformed by the gift of grace, forgiveness and love offered to us by God and exemplified in the life of Jesus, then we are destined to pass on the pain and become part of the problem, not part of the transformative solution.
God, You’re Breaking My Heart is published by Messenger Publications and costs €9.99.