Catholics/1 Corinthians 10-13


I have been an expert on this site (Ph.D. Canine Behaviorist) for eight years and have answered 6,000 questions, some of them quite complex.  I asked this question of the other priest who thought it too long and involved.  Am I shocked and appalled?  Yes.  Now here it is for you:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP) | In Context | Whole Chapter

"13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently."

I see an internet site that is called "9 Lies You Hear in Church".

The above is a lie.  My daughter suffered a complex psychosis, she had been hospitalized five times for suicidal attempts, saw a world famous psychiatrist, could not TOLERATE the anti-psychotic drugs OR the mood stabilizers.  She was wearing a cross.  She was reading the bible.  She was PRAYING FOR HELP.  I have spent my life with God but, almost four years to the anniversary of her death, I find myself failing in faith despite the reality that I have received MANY "signs" from God in my lifetime.  HELP ME to keep my faith.  EXPLAIN TO ME why this verse is just wrong (in translation, in understanding).  I am not a "Paulist", I do not follow Paul, I follow Jesus.  I don't see one place in the NT where Jesus said anything like this.  WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I will do what I can to answer your question--but---as I point out to people--a website IS NOT a good place to do spiritual direction, counseling, etc--and given the tragedy you have been through I feel you need far more than an explanation of a particular Scripture passage.  You certainly deserve better than just a website answer!    

I STRONGLY recommend and encourage that you make an appointment with the pastor or priest assigned to your parish to discuss this further.  What you NEED is spiritual direction---not an academic exegesis of a Scripture Passage.  

As an aside: TRUST me when I tell you the Scripture "scholarship" I learned in seminary would be of no use here anyway!  It was extremely dry and quite frankly--I found it decidedly unhelpful when it came to understanding the Bible.  Catholic scholarship on the Bible these days is wanting and has been since the 60's. It relies too heavily on the tools of Science and thus treats the Bible like a human book rather than God's Word.  It exaggerates the literal meaning of a passage at the expense of the Spiritual broader meaning and totally disregards 2000 years of Catholic Tradition.  Trust me--you aren't interested in this kind of "scholarship" and neither am I!

Before I try and explain the passage I want to make a few observations/suggestions/questions.  I may be off--but it does not hurt to raise them and ask them--if for no other reason than to help you pray:

1) Are you really doubting God, or are you angry at God?  Perhaps both?

2) What is your image of God?

3) Jesus tells us that: "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45) Basically Jesus is saying that--whether we are good or evil it is likely that we will not be exempt from suffering--and some will suffer more than others--their moral lives and Faith notwithstanding.  

4) Jesus also says "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)  Is Jesus telling you to take up your cross (the suffering and tragic death of your daughter) and follow him? What does it mean to take up our crosses?

True Christianity is a religion of the cross.  The problem is that most people do not understand this--because some Non-denominational generic preacher tells them the exact opposite.  They attend what these preachers call "worship" (really nothing more than a Religious pep rally with Bible verses thrown in) and believe in their "Prosperity Gospel" message of Christianity without the cross.

Jesus Christ did not suffer and die so we don't have to, he suffered and died so that OUR suffering and death could be redemptive.  Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered--and we who are his followers must do likewise.  Suffering is a blessing---because----the degree to which we suffer with Christ, the degree to which we take up our crosses and follow after Christ---is the degree to which we will rein in glory with Christ. The Cross and the Resurrection are two sides of the same coin: the cross IS the resurrection and the resurrection IS the cross.  You cannot have Resurrection without the cross and the cross makes no sense without the Resurrection--but we must first GO TO THE CROSS WITH JESUS if we want to RISE WITH JESUS.  The CROSS IS THE WAY. (That is why Catholicism focuses so much on the Cross, and why the Crucifix figures prominently in Catholic churches.)

Those who were blessed in this life with the good things of this life who follow Christ will surly rein with him--but those who suffered much in this life will have a greater share in that rein.  

Your daughter suffered greatly in this life.  She did not receive what was good in this life, save a wonderful mother who loved her daughter to the end.  She is now receiving what is good in heaven and you for loving your daughter and suffering with her will likewise receive what is good in heaven--and you will share in it in a greater way than those who HAVE received what was good in this life.

That is the hope our Faith gives us.

If I may be honest: I doubt too--and I am a PRIEST!  Sometimes I wonder if the atheists aren't right when they suggest that Christianity and the after life was just made up to make people feel better about death and suffering.  (Anyone who tells you that they don't doubt---run and run away from them as fast as you can.) I tend to be a bit of a cynic.  If it sounds too good to be true--I become suspicious of its truth.  I ask questions--I am always questioning. Thing is---the thing about the Christian God--is that He has certain characteristics that aren't just human projections.  

In other words--there are things about the Christian Faith that don't seem like they COULD be made up--no one would even CONSIDER it!  God as a Trinity of persons, united in one nature for example.  That God Himself experienced death on a cross.  Pagan religions have gods coming to earth, dying a rising (perhaps) but no Pagan religion can compete with Christianity in the Incarnation.   Atheists try to suggest similarities between Christianity and the pagan religions--thing is--when you actually research the claims you find the similarities are superficial--and it seems the pagan religions might have copied from Christianity rather than Christianity from them.  The Christian God is so DIFFERENT from the pagan gods and He is so different from us--that I don't see how any man or women or group of men or women could have dreamed up the very radical claims of the Christian Faith.  

Our Faith cannot grow if it isn't challenged.  Our Faith cannot grow if it isn't broken down from time to time through life's challenges.  The ironic thing is that I have friends who are good Catholics--and trust me they have faced great tragedy in their life.  It was that tragedy that lead them into a deeper Faith and lead them closer to God!

Have you ever heard the song "It is Well With my Soul?" The song was written by Horatio Spafford.  Ironically the song was written AFTER some VERY traumatic events in his life.  Philip Bliss wrote the tune, Spafford the words.  The Great Chicago Fire ruined Spafford financially.  Spafford also lost ALL of his children (four daughters) in a ship collision causing it to sink.  His wife survived.  Both grieved together.  It was AFTER these events that he penned the very beautiful words of the hymn "It is Well With my Soul."  Perhaps you can read those words in your prayer or listen to the hymn on "Youtube."  

Now to Paul:

I think those words apply in a spiritual sense not a physical sense.  Our spiritual side is what is lasting.  Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth.  They will be resurrected--but until God comes again and finishes the work of redemption our bodies are subject to disease, death, change and decay.  Those who remain faithful to the Lord DESPITE the sufferings of the flesh, nothing will over come them in the end.  The words need to be read therefore from the perspective of ETERINTIY and ETERNAL LIFE.  God wrote those words--and God wrote them from the perspective of ETERNITY, not the perspective of what amounts to our relatively short time on Earth.

In short--Christianity is a LONG TERM RELIGION, not a short term religion.  You must think from the perspective of Eternity and our souls rather than the flesh--and that may help you understand those words.

Paul's words must also be read within the larger context of the Bible as a whole.  Read Psalm 89: "You sweep men away like a dream, like grass which springs up in the morning.  In the morning it springs up and flowers, by evening it withers and fades."

May I suggest you read Ecclesiastes--in particular the third (3) chapter. That is the classic "To everything there is a season...a time for everything under the sun..."

Finally Paul's words must be read in light of the Cross:  Jesus--the most innocent of all--nevertheless died a sinners death--he was innocent--deserving of no suffering--and yet suffered the worst of all of us.  From an earthly perspective indeed--suffering and death had overcome Jesus.  From an eternal perspective--the song didn't end on Good Friday, the song had just begun. The very moment Satan thought he had God right where he wanted him--it was God who had Satan right where he wanted him.  The moment Satan seemed strongest was paradoxically the moment of his destruction.  

Scripture verses CANNOT be isolated from the whole of God's Word.  They always must be read in context of the whole.  When we isolate them from the whole we will not understand them.

I hope this helps.  


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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