Young Adults Hear How Trust in God Can Grow During a Crisis

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Father Agustino Torres, C.F.R., delivered a 30-minute talk titled “Trust in God” March 23 as part of the CatholicNYC Presents series of discussions sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Outreach.

“Jesus comes and He deepens our understanding of pain and He completely transforms the meaning of our own pain and suffering so trust in God may grow,” Father Torres said.

The coronavirus crisis may cause people to question their trust in God, Father Torres said. Is God mad or punishing people for something they’ve done? How can trust grow when an individual feels powerless? “The way Jesus saved us” is not by pretending bad things don’t happen, Father Torres said. “He didn’t pretend sin wasn’t a reality. He didn’t pretend that difficulties wouldn’t come. What did He say? He said scandals will come.”

In chapter 12 of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said He would bring division and not unity. “He said this, so that we would know that His message indeed is true and will be believed. It is trustworthy, but not everyone will believe and this indeed will cause division,” Father Torres said.

The priest added, “Everything Jesus lived was geared toward the cross. The cross is His mission of salvation. He didn’t just come and say, ‘I’m God and things happen, you just need to trust me.’ He said, ‘I’m God, I love you and everything that you experience—all the pain, everything, I’m taking it up onto myself and making it my own.’“ 

Father Torres used the Book of Job as an example of someone’s trust in God continuing to grow despite the trials Job faced as he dealt with losing his wealth and his children.

“He teaches us through thick and thin to bless the name of the Lord,” said Father Torres, who is a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

Father Torres’ talk, which was viewed by an average of 90 viewers, was the third in a series on Facebook Live and YouTube being done as an outreach to young adults in the archdiocese as the coronavirus forces the cancellation of many in-person events.

Each talk begins and ends with a prayer from Colin Nykaza, director of the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Outreach. After the 30-minute talks, Nykaza and the speaker answer questions from viewers.

Before Father Torres spoke, Nykaza read from the diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish saint of the first part of the 20th century, who lived during the rise to power of leaders such as Adolf Hitler and the torture of Jews in concentration camps.

“There were some of the most horrific things ever done by human beings to another human being, and it could be a very easy thing to say, ‘Jesus, I trust in you, with a question mark,’” Father Torres said. “How am I supposed to trust in you when I see all these things happening around me, St. Faustina may have been tempted to say. But trust she did and say it she did.

“Although it’s a very somber place today, you could still visit those concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and it’s a reminder and a monument that love will eventually triumph. Darkness will not have its reign. Even if it seems it might be winning, it will never win the war. This is our trust. This is the victory that our Lord has won through the cross.”

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