Any particular evil is a problem, and man's hopes run eternal that he may conquer this disease by research and save this patient by expert surgery plus luck, or remedy this unjust school situation by law. One dedicates himself to combating this and that particular evil insofar as his expertise and his moment in history presents these particular evils to him. But he does not delude himself that he has come to save the world from evil, to rid it of evil. For this sort of thinking would reduce all evil to problems, which would run the risk of reading the history of man's fateful civilizations very superficially, with an optimist's naivete. It is from this shallow approach to evil that genuine cynicism, that is, literally barking like a dog, settles into a culture or a person so that nothing at all is done about the evil problems that beset any particular moment in history. This approach to evil makes of those set out to conquer it messiahs themselves; no wonder the plunge from their lofty ideals to their cynicism is so long and so hard. They have expected too much of themselves and too little of the enemy.
Evil, so far as it is mystery, refuses to be manipulated or dealt with by pressure. No law will eradicate racism (though laws are needed to prevent its spread and punish the overt violators); no war will end all wars (and no stockpiling for future untold wars will prevent them); no single commitment to justice will slay the forces of injustice, the powers and principalities that continually-like Minerva's twelve heads-assert and reassert their heads. This sense of evil as mystery is the meaning of Jesus' remark that "the poor you will always have with you." His declaration is not against a socialist welfare system set up as a problem-solver for the poor. It is an observation on the mystery of evil of which poverty is one glaring example: that evil of some sort will continue to haunt mankind.
To say evil is a mystery is not to opt for mystification of evil (as so much Latin spirituality has done0. The mystifiers of evil are recognizable by their particular cult. They are ever busy creating evil that they may suffer through either on their own imaginations or - what is worse (but, alas, more common) - in the lives of others whom they love to rule over with spiritual power.
This disguised masochism suppressed into a spiritualized sadism fools no one and reveals its own contradictions when persons dedicated to ridding the earth from evil problems confront it. This approach to evil has only cozy words to offer the suffering, coming from those who have never suffered authentically; pious platitudes delivered from one-dimensional souls who have a habit of running from evil problems while calling their running a spiritual journey. One cannot resist emphatically enough all efforts by this spirituality to mystify evil, making what are solvable problems (provided one works hard, educates himself to them, and spends himself) the immutable will of God and reducing the bed for mystery to the scope of their tiny imaginations. This thinking reduces to a state more puny than that of the problem-solvers the mystery of evil that is not contained within any single imagination.
*On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear Spirituality American Style by Matthew Fox, Paulist Press/Deus Book New York/Mahwah pges 40-42