One of the prominent Catholic thinkers and writers of the 20th century was a German professor by the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand. He became a Catholic as a young man, and it happened that in his parish in Munich, there was stationed at the time a young priest by the name of Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. Last week, the Holy Father gave an audience to Alice von Hildebrand, the widow of Dietrich. She taught for some years at Hunter College in New York City, and one time I heard her speak at a conference in Houston.
She was telling us that one day in class, one of the young college girls taking her course in theology said to her, “I could never believe in a God whom I couldn’t understand.” Alice replied, “Isn’t that interesting! I could never believe in a God whom I could totally understand, because if I could grasp all the reality of God with my very limited mind, he must not be much of a God!” I don’t know whether that answer changed the narrow thinking of the young girl, but it was certainly true. We often hear people asking, “Why does God do this or allow that?” My answer to that kind of question is “I don’t know. But of course, I am not God.”
The 2-year-old child can create quite a scene when his mother won’t let him play with matches, as he’d like. Or with the butcher knife. Or with a razor blade that he has seen his dad use for shaving. Why is his mother being so cruel, so stubborn? She must not love him! One day, that child will understand why he was not allowed to play with those things, but at the age of 2, he can simply whine or cry or become angry and presume that his mother doesn’t love him. Now, the distance between God’s intelligence and ours is far greater than that between the mind of an adult mother and a two-year-old child. Let’s remember that the next time we’re tempted to grow impatient with God for doing, or not doing, something we think He should or should not do. In comparison with him, we are all two-year-olds, at best! Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.