Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 17, 2007
Smith finds 'agents of hope' across the archdiocese
Catholics striving to built 'vibrant communities of faith,' archbishop says
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"There is within this archdiocese many people who, like yourselves, have been touched by the truth of Jesus Christ and have been transformed by the Gospel."
"It is in the Catholic hospitals that we must make real and tangible the truth of the dignity of the human person, which is to be preserved and upheld and protected from conception to natural death."
Smith said he has also seen how people in the archdiocese are striving to be agents of hope through their care of the poor. The other day while visiting the Marian Centre in downtown Edmonton during the lunch hour he spoke to a gentleman who was there to receive a meal.
"He sought me out and we just had the briefest of chats. He didn't get into any details about his life but what he did say was, 'Because of these people here (the members and volunteers of the Marian Centre) I'm beginning now to come out of a deep dark valley and I want you, archbishop, to know this.
"So here we have a very concrete expression of the hope that we bring when we who have been touched and transformed by the love of Christ share that love with others."
Noting that he was speaking on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Smith told his audience that like Mary, the Mother of God, we are called to be one with Christ in his saving mission for the world.
"One way in which we can understand our association with Christ in his saving mission is to be agents of hope," the archbishop said, quoting from Pope Benedict's latest encyclical, Saved by Hope.
Smith called on the audience to imitate Mary, whose response to God's call was total and unconditional.
"So on this day of the Immaculate Conception let's all together pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we will be seized anew with this wondrous news of what God has accomplished in Jesus his Son and be enabled by the power of that grace to give our free and our complete fiat to God's saving grace."
Quoting from Pope Benedict's book Jesus of Nazareth, the archbishop spoke about the importance of proclaiming the truth of the divinity of Jesus.
"Jesus is not just another prophet, not just another wonderful teacher," he stressed. "Jesus is the divine Son of God made flesh. We must allow that truth to embrace us, to seize us and live from it by giving our response to the truth of who Jesus is."
Knowing Jesus Christ, encountering the truth of God's love in Jesus Christ naturally fills us with hope and lifts us up out of any despair and any sense of meaninglessness or hopelessness, he noted.
"And having found that incredible hope in Jesus Christ ourselves we naturally want to reach out and to be agents of that hope to others."
Smith urged his audience to address the problems confronting society by addressing their roots.
"Do not be afraid," he said, quoting from the late John Paul II. "Truly to be agents of hope we need to dig deep down to the roots of all the problems and address them there with the light and with the Good News of the Gospel."
The root of much of society's ills is alienation from truth - "an alienation from the truth first of all of who God is and also an alienation from the truth of who we are," the archbishop said.
The truth of the human person, he said, is that we have "a wondrous dignity" because we are created and loved by God.
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