One evening, when I arrived at my sister’s house for dinner after work, my little niece looked up at me and said: “I wish you had a bad day.” I was understandably startled by her remark and asked her why she wanted me to have a bad day. She responded: “Be-cause if you have a bad day, that means I can comfort you.”

In that brief (and surprising) exchange with my niece, I caught a glimpse of Christ-like love. Of course, my niece did not really want me to have a bad day. Nor does Christ. He is love - and love always seeks to draw near. This is why so much of our faith centers on communion. Instead of waiting for us on the other side of suffering, God desires to come and meet us amidst the hurt and the messiness.

This might not be the conventional solution that the world is looking for, as it grapples with the problem of evil. But truly, the Paschal Mystery — the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus — is the answer to that perennial cry from the heart of the human race: Where are you God? I remember how this question came roaring to the surface in the days after 9/11. I yelled at the heav-ens. I didn’t expect the heavens would respond. But oh, how the Lord of heaven did.

I don’t wish for you to have a bad day. But when those tough moments do come, I pray that you experience the victorious and consoling presence of Christ. And perhaps it will come through a six-year old’s hug at the end of a long day.

Marston is a consecrated virgin of the Archdiocese of Portland and serves as Director of Faith Formation at St. Anthony, Tigard.