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 23, 2016

Cold and Wet - Great!!!

Cold and wet. That's been the weather throughout the long weekend here in Edmonton and other parts of Alberta. Everyone's happy about it! Keep in mind this is the time of year many are setting out for the first camping trip of the season or opening up the cottage. Typically, we want the weather at such a time to be warm and sunny. It's been the opposite, and everyone welcomes it. The reason is obvious. The terrain has been dangerously dry, and we have been living daily with worry about damaging fires and low crop yields. We needed moisture desperately and are now happy to receive it, even when our plans and hopes might be inconvenienced or dashed by it.

In this situation, present hopes and desires have been weighed against greater and future needs; personal plans for recreation have been recognized as having less urgency than the requirements of others; what is unwelcome from one point of view is recognized as a good when placed within a larger perspective. It is a moment of recognition that the world does not revolve around me; that I am part of something bigger than myself, a something that calls me to a vision far broader and more expansive than my normal sight line that rarely extends beyond the tip of my nose.

Sunday's celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity had implicit within it a summons to an infinite vision. The mystery of the Trinity reminds us that the need to look beyond ourselves and the demands or hopes of the moment is not periodic but perennial. God, who has revealed Himself as a perfect communion of love - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - wills that we share in that very same divine life for all eternity. That this might be possible, He sent to us His Son and Holy Spirit. These wondrous gifts by which God, in fact, communicates His very self, draw us out of ourselves and towards God; they grant us a participation, even now, in God's own life! This astounding truth of God's desire for us fashions the horizon against which we view our lives correctly. We live not for the moment but for eternity; we are concerned not with the fulfilment of self-centered and transient desires but with allowing God to fulfil His will in us.

Within this perspective, even suffering and difficulty find meaning. Regularly we have to grapple with things far worse than cold and wet weather. Yet, when we recognize that, by the water of God's grace and mercy, suffering can lead to the blossoming of a soul desiccated by self-absorption, that it can thus further us along the journey out of ourselves and towards God, then even the hardship can be welcomed as a good. To be sure, this is a perspective that is granted only by faith, yet this does not render it unreal. On the contrary, by the gift of faith we perceive things as they truly are and are enabled to order our lives, and our response to adversity, accordingly.

Bad weather is not necessarily bad. A truth to bear in mind in the pilgrimage of our souls.