Q . If God already loves us unconditionally, why are trials and tribulations put in   place in order to go back to Him?

Remya Prakash, Edinburg, TX

 It is a great question and I believe that some clarity on God’s unconditional love, Christian meaning of suffering, and chastisement or discipline as God’s call to return to his amazing love will help us to explore this question further. In his apostolic letter Savifici Doloris (SD 1984), St. John Paul II explored beautifully the Christian meaning of human suffering.  Suffering in one form or other is part of human existence. Human beings suffer in a number of ways: physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually. Therefore, trials and tribulations in life naturally lead to questions such as, ‘why do I suffer’? ‘Why do others suffer’ and ‘Is there any meaning to suffering’?

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Fr Bitaju Mathew, O.SS.T. belongs to the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives (Trinitarians). He serves as the secretary Vice Provincial of the Order in India and is currently Chaplain of the Jesus Youth International Formation Team.