Archbishop Smith: The Necessary Perspective

07 December 2020

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It is helpful now and again to take a break simply to ponder the beauty of God and His works. This is always true, but especially when everything we encounter is cause for worry. Our present time is such a moment. The ever-changing situation and ensuing confusion render it difficult to see beyond the tyranny of the immediate. In these circumstances, our horizon needs to expand to embrace the “bigger picture” and gain a perspective that nourishes hope.

Certainly, the immediate horizon is looking a little brighter lately than it has been, due to announcements of vaccine approvals and the imminent start of distribution. Many questions swirl around vaccination, not least of which are some moral considerations. With respect to this latter point, the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories released last week a pastoral letter to our parishioners. If you have not yet had a chance to see it, I encourage you to give it a read.

The needed horizontal breadth, however, is given when we consider not our own human accomplishments but the mighty deeds of God, who is with us in the power of His love. It is good – very good – to step back from what is immediately pressing upon us and ponder the love of God and what He is able to achieve. For our loving God, nothing is impossible. When we place our present situation against this infinite horizon, life gains its proper perspective, within which we find true and deep peace of mind and heart, even as troubling events swirl around us. God loves us; God is with us; and God is guiding all things in accord with His saving will for us.

Sacred music is a wonderful means by which is communicated the perspective we need and, from that, an invitation to rest in the knowledge of God’s love and might. I mention this because, on Sunday, I had the opportunity to listen to a new recording of sacred music for Advent and Christmas called “Alpha & Omega.” It has been produced by the Schola Cantorum of St. Joseph’s Basilica, our cathedral choir. I know I am biased, but it is truly magnificent. As I listened to the beautiful sounds and pondered the words carried across the melodies, I was caught up in the mystery of God’s saving presence with His people through history, the steadfastness of His fidelity to all that He promised, and the assurance that Jesus, who once came among us and will return at the end of time, remains with us now. I came away from the encounter with the assurance, yet again, that God remains always with His people. Things will be okay.

Advent is the season that places our lives within this holy perspective. Let’s be sure to pause, and ponder the steadfast love of our God.