In recent weeks, the United States has been stricken by a series of natural disasters. Thousands of people in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and California have been swept away by the fury of Mother Nature. Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas on August 25, while entire communities in Northern California were evacuated due to wild fires, which have taken the lives of 42 people as of Oct. 18.
Why is this happening? Are these catastrophes simply nature running its course, or are they supernatural demonstrations? Why now? These are the questions many Notre Dame Preparatory High School students have begun to ask themselves.
“Supernatural demonstrations,” said senior Carley Turner. “There is no better explanation for this commotion. In a nation that is often divided, tragedy brings love. It brings people together in community with one another, and allows them to do things they never thought were possible by themselves. God is trying to tell us something, and I think it’s time to listen.”
Although these questions have not been verified by experts, as suggested by Turner, recent speculation has risen that this sequence of events could very well be the beginning of the end, as foreshadowed in the book of Luke 21:25 of the New Testament. Individuals have even pointed out the Bible’s accuracy in predicting the dates of the natural disaster, accordingly to its verse. Biblical prophecies are not unheard of, if fact, they’ve been present in society for thousands of years. Biblical prophecies are centre to religious beliefs, however some students, including senior Anya Videan, are skeptical towards this idea.
“Natural disasters are unfortunately common occurrences,” said Videan. “They are not caused by our actions because they happen naturally without human intervention.”
NDP’s religious affiliation has sparked a range of theological discussions with regard to the issue. Due to the prevalence of the topic, some of the school’s theology teachers have also expressed their theological viewpoints.
“The sacred scripture is a language of spirit, but if we try to interpret it out of context, if we try to make it say things we want it to say, then we’re obviously going to make a lot of mistakes,” said Dr. Matuszak, both a theology teacher and a philosophy teacher at the school. “Whichever is the case, I think these tragic events do serve as a reminder of how blessed we are to be alive. Personally, It encourages me to live my life fully, the way God would want me to.”
As foreseen, the answers to these universal questions are volatile around the NDP campus, and often they are driven by strong emotion and even panic. Mother Nature or supernatural demonstrations? A clear answer may never be available, however, as mentioned briefly by Dr. Matuszak, this topic goes beyond finding one right answer, it facilitates important questions about life. More specifically, how people should live their lives.
“When a natural disaster occurs, it makes people think about how any day could be their last,” stated senior Elizabeth McSorley, taking a philosophical approach to the questions posed. “It makes people think about how any day could be their last. It makes people appreciate what they have.”
“If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would tell people I love them any chance I get,” remarked Turner, taking a rather spiritual approach to the thought.
Scientists, experts, and even the common man or women may never know why tragedy occurs in the world, or whether the Apocalypse is near, but one thing is for certain: these moments of travesty and great suffering serve as a reminder of the frailty of life.