Of all miracles, Fr. Benedict Groeschel was passing through town, and came to Joshua Michael's wake. He spoke briefly after Regina gave the eulogy, and we wish, we wish we had had a tape recorder so that we could always remember what he said. He is, of course, so wonderful and one of Regina's favorite speakers. That he, who had survived a near-fatal car accident a few years ago, could be with us at the wake was a profound blessing to us.
We will try to reproduce below some of what he said. Of course these are approximate quotes. We were able to speak with him later and he said he had spoken without notes and had no copy of what he said.
He said, "When these things happen, you ask why. Why does God allow this kind of suffering? Regina mentions Joshua's favorite movie was The Passion of the Christ. In that movie, we see the Blessed Mother following her Son to Calvary. And the entire time, Mary was asking Why? Why does he have to suffer? Why does he have to be scourged? Why the crown of thorns? Why the cross? Stop it, please, please stop it.
But God did not stop it. He suffered, He died. And that is his only answer to the question of why.
Do not ask God 'Why?' Ask Him 'What?' What can I do? What can be done with my life, and what should I do to gain Heaven? For Jesus also asked why, on the Cross! Therefore, if our Lord asked why, and was answered by death on the Cross, so must we suffer with the loss of earthly possession, our earthly body, and our earthly selfishness.
God does not give us an answer to our question of why. Padre Pio said we should not ask why. We should ask What. What does God want me to do now?
St. Thomas Aquinas said that the mystery of evil is why so many people believe in God. And the mystery of evil is why so many people refuse to believe in God. So you see the question cuts both ways."
Fr. Benedict went on to speak about Anne Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh, whose son was kidnapped and murdered. And how the only comfort she found was in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
He also spoke about his cousin whose young son was murdered by a prowler. She found her son's dead body when she came home at night from a PTA meeting. She met the young Fr. Benedict and his brothers on the steps and said, "I read in a book that if people could choose the crosses that they bear in this life, they would end up choosing the ones they were given. I never would have choosen this cross. But now that I have been given it, I will carry it."
In what was the most moving part of his remarks, Fr. Benedict said, "I am standing here today because of a series of modern miracles of medicine. I should be dead. And when I heard about Joshua's accident, I thought to myself, 'Why am I here and this strong little boy is not here?' I think that, now, every time I hear of a parent dying, or a child dying. Again, I ask why. But that is not the question I can ask. What does God want me to do because I am here?'
"Regina and Andrew, in the coming days you will ask yourself why. But you must instead ask what. What does God want you to do? And that should keep both of you busy."