In this week’s blog, Fr. Paddy reflects on the great questions we ask ourselves at those times when life doesn’t make sense.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.

This column appeared in the edition published 12 July 2011.

ONE OF the greatest minds ever to live, Albert Einstein, once said: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for success.”

In the past week, I celebrated two very different funerals.

The first celebrated the life of an active, enthusiastic and faith-filled 95-year-old woman. There was sense of resignation and acceptance that this was her time to begin again.

The second funeral was an occasion of great sadness: a beautiful little girl, brave, courageous and determined to live.

I felt the enormous pain of loss that her parents carried and certainly answers to the ‘why’ of human suffering seemed somewhat distant.

Most of us have the experience of asking a big question and not being able to find an appropriate answer. As we journey through life, it is true for us all that there are many more questions than answers.

Often it is when we ask the right questions that we may experience a new insight or sense of enlightenment. For this reason, to question is an important endeavor as we walk the many hills and valleys contained within all our stories.

What is our life ultimately all about?

Who am I?

Am I fulfilled?

Why do some people suffer much greater than others?

Why do they always seem so happy?

Why do some people die young?

What happens to us after we die?

Do I really believe in God?

One of the great fathers of Greek philosophy once in his wisdom remarked: “The unreflective life is not worth living”.  A worrying trend in modern culture is that we can become blind to the bigger picture in all our lives.

Our minds can become so cluttered and bombarded with information that we can almost forget to absorb and indeed taste what is the bigger picture.

Despite a deep recession and massive unemployment, we all have reasons to hope.

These are not superficial, if we hold unto a fundamental faith; we can, despite confusion and doubt, look forward to the future with confidence and hope.

Perhaps as we mature and grow on our journey, we become more comfortable with such questions.

To be honest, how can we have answers? All we are invited by the Lord is to be honest and open.

Lord, like the Sun peering through a confusion of trees, bring your light and hope to all our hearts.

Shine your love into the confusion of lives and give us meaning.

I found the following prayer Comfort and suggest that when we reflect on its content, we may well find peace.


When your heart is sad and lonely, and your friends seem far away, turn to Him who is all holy, and He’ll drive your cares away.

When a dear one seems to fail you, when for friendship true you long, confide in Him who is all true, and He’ll right your every wrong.

Jesus’ heart is your true refuge, to Him you can always flee, even when your hopes are sinking, He will then a True Friend be.

He will soothe your lonely spirit, He will love and bless and say, “Come to Me and I will comfort you, today and every day.”