By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton


This picture shows one of the panels on the holy door at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. I have always loved it, and it speaks beautifully of the Good Shepherd reaching out to save the lost. That's the reason for hope.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In Need of a "Soaker"

Here in Edmonton people are relieved to be getting some much needed rain. Just the other day I was speaking with a woman at a drug store. As she looked out at the looming clouds, she exclaimed with evident delight, "Looks like we're in for a good soaker!" Farmers, too, and many others, are quite happy to welcome the moisture. Even with the great amount of snow we've had here, the soil is surprisingly parched.

It seems to me, though, that the earth is not the only thing in need of a good soaker. Many souls today are seriously parched, dried out by the hot air of illusory expectations and dashed hopes occasioned by false messaging in the atmosphere. The thirst of the soul is for truth, and it is far from being quenched by what we are told will bring us happiness or make us noticed. I worry especially for our young people, bombarded with the lies that one must be beautiful, athletic, popular or talented in order to count for anything, seductions that leave so many wondering if they matter and therefore striving to be someone other than who they are.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity, celebrated yesterday by the Church throughout the world, is the wondrous truth that fully quenches the soul's deepest thirst. Contemplation of this divine mystery opens our minds and hearts to apprehend our human one. Why do I exist? What is the meaning of my life? Where is it headed? What is the source of true peace and happiness? All of this comes to light in the mystery of God's very being, which provides our parched souls with the soaking for which they ardently long.

We know from the Father's sending to us of His Son and Holy Spirit that God, eternally One, is a Trinity of Persons, an eternal exchange of love, in which we are destined to participate! (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 221). God, perfect in Himself, needs nothing. From this we know that God has fashioned us not from necessity but from love. Here we find the source of our dignity and hope. Here we are soaked with the truth that satisfies the thirsty soul, the truth of God's unconditional love and His eternal plan for each of us. When we drink this in, we find that we need nothing more.

I love the way Benedict XVI captured this truth in his first homily, and how Pope Francis is affirming it with his insistence upon everyone's worth and dignity, especially the poor and any who live on the margins of society. Benedict said that, once we meet God in Christ, we know that, "Everyone is the result of a thought of God. Each person is willed, loved and necessary." Many souls today are, indeed, needing a "good soaker". This is uniquely given in the mystery of the Trinity, in Whom we seize our own deepest beauty.