it's..rather our own sinfulness and negligence that cause the earthquakes, and storms and other natural disasters. By our disobedience and subsequent abandonment of our priestly place in creation, we are the cause of all these disruptions and because we are empowered by God, wherever we are, if we were as in communion with God as we should be, we could prevent the tragedy or render it harmless. How many saints have averted floods, turned storms, preserved the faithful by their prayers. It is our lack of prayer, our lack of communion with God that causes the pain and suffering of our innocent brethren in this world.
I believe that God takes fully into account our weakness and therefore what is realistic for us. Or to say it another way- Christ did not allow Peter to drown when his faith did not match up to that which would have been required to walk across stormy water.
That is why I see sin more as a kind of invisible energy that is destructive in its effects. Many saints after all have been able to see this distorted & destructive reality in others through a kind of second vision. And many saints (the Elder Paisios I think is one) speak of the cosmic and visible effects of sin. And this is not so difficult to understand if we think of how seriously a situation on the smaller scale can be led in a destructive direction. A word of anger or even a bad thought if left unchecked can have drastic and severe effects.
That's why I would think that on one level how our sin leads to catastrophe is invisible to most of us. We simply do not have the spiritual vision to see this destructiveness at work. But on the other hand if we bring this down to the immediate level of evil in its destructive effects- then I think we can begin to understand these things.
Anyway- the answer to catastrophes both to prevent or to allay them and to live with their aftermath- is clearly a more seriously engaged life in Christ & repentance. Which mostly means calling God to mind & heart.
My comments from yesterday were more from this latter angle: apart from the outrageous levels of unrepented sin in which we all indulge nowadays; our culture is truly marked by a worship of self & materialism that has led to massive complacency concerning God. The result of this can only be self destruction or destruction of the integrity of the human being in his intended divine reality. And if so then it is no surprise if by God's allowance this also leads to more widespread levels of destruction. At this point the physical effects simply reflect the invisible reality of sin. Or to put it another way- somewhat as scientists bring out their drawings of fault lines that run deep under the earth to explain what has led to an earthquake; so we as Christians could bring out our descriptions of that sin which runs deep underneath the surface of visible reality & which affects it.
In Christ- Fr Raphael