Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 22, 2008
An encounter with Jesus leads us to life
Nothing More Beautiful process launched at packed basilica
BY GLEN ARGAN
“The essential teaching of this first account of creation is that God is the author of all that exists and that, among all creatures, the human being has supreme dignity,” he said.
To be created in God’s image, he said, is “to be fashioned for the purpose of living in a relationship with God.”
Smith continued by reflecting on Genesis 2 and 3, the second version of the creation story and humanity’s fall from grace.
He spoke of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the centre of the Garden of Eden as a key symbol. “The tree is an invitation to accept the truth of our creatureliness and limits, and to trust in the providence and wisdom of God.”
But unfortunately, our first parents reached out beyond their limits – “They sought to be other than the creatures they were fashioned to be.”
After reflecting briefly on the nature of original sin, the archbishop noted two false conclusions that could be drawn because of the Fall. One is that the human person is bad or corrupt. The other is that good and evil are equal, opposing forces in the person.
However, humanity can be redeemed and evil can be overcome, he said.
Jesus Christ is God’s fulfillment of his promise not to abandon humanity, but to overcome the power of the evil one. “The beautiful news of the Gospel is that God has fulfilled this ancient promise, that evil has been overcome through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Singh, the assistant director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) in Ottawa, was raised a Catholic in Edmonton and became a New York corporate lawyer after graduating from Harvard.
Even as a student at Harvard, her life began to feel “strangely hollow and empty.” Then she joined a prayer group started by a friend.
“That prayer group had a very important influence on me. We prayed together, we discussed the faith and we chanted the Liturgy of the Hours, which I came to love and pray on my own.”
Her faith blossomed and “I started to develop a sincere love for God.”
In law school, she became disillusioned with the path she had chosen – international human rights law. She saw organizations within the United Nations promoting “reproductive” and “sexual” rights as real human rights.
Singh came to realize that without the guidance of the Gospel, people can start making moral rules themselves. “With the growing secularism of the world, there is also a growing darkness in our understanding of human rights.”
After graduation, she went to work as a corporate lawyer, but again found that life empty.
“I felt like I was living a split personality – on the one hand, I loved to pray, read religious books and attend faith activities, but my daily work consisted of the financial restructuring of corporations and I just didn’t see the link between the two.”
She soon found a Catholic organization that promotes human rights and went to work there. “I saw this organization was a way to do something positive about the sad fate of the international human rights community.”
Soon she met a Catholic man, Jasbir Singh, who lived in Ottawa. She eventually moved to Ottawa to work with COLF and so they could better discern God’s will for their lives. They married and are now expecting their first child.
(The full text of Archbishop Smith’s talk is contained on Pages 14 to 17. A story about Lea Singh’s testimony was on the front page of the Dec. 1 WCR.)
(Their presentations will be broadcast on Salt + Light TV on Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 10:30 a.m.)
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