At the moment, thanks to current technology, we seem submerged, overwhelmed, in and by human suffering. There is the unimaginable sorrow and suffering in Japan; so many conflicts all over the world, present to all of us no matter where we are; what seems to be an epidemic of cancer; crime, oppression, injustice, etc. A couple centuries ago, thanks to what was current technology, people would only hear of so much suffering elsewhere belatedly and piecemeal, if at all. But today there is no escape from it. We are inundated, like it or not. As a correspondent puts it: "Even the pope (in words this past Sunday in St. Peter's Square about the catastrophe) seemed to be groping with it, trying to get a human perspective on it."
Attempted explanations and understanding are, we must admit, simply inadequate. They may tell us how tsunamis and earthquakes happen but we're all left with why? or, often, why me? -- whether in our hearts or in cries and screams. Philosophers and theologians when thinking about it call it a problem; better, call it a mystery. It seems to call for at least these two responses. One: at a time of such universal horror and pain, it may be best to emphasize once again, and realize our solidarity with all suffering human beings -- whenever and wherever -- and draw what consequences we can. We are one human race, sharing one planet. Secondly: we can and must pray. As with tsunamis and earthquakes, there are attempts at explaining how prayer works. But what will help in practice is simply to pray, best of all with trust in prayer (based, it is to be hoped, on personal experience), and trust in the God who in so many ways has shown us love and will show us love.
— Don Talafous OSB