Since 2000, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais has expressed his opinion on a variety of faith topics. These texts were initially published in the "Ask the Religion Experts" column which appears every Saturday in The Ottawa Citizen. As of June 2005, Msgr. Patrick Powers, Vicar General, will be taking on the responsibility of the weekly articles.

A neuroscientist in Quebec has conducted experiments on nuns to see if he can capture the experience of being at one with God. What are the pros and cons of such an endeavor?

I suppose some people would find it interesting to see if there were some sort of neurological evidence of, as you put it, "being at one with God". This might imply, however, that there is some sort of predestined characteristic for those who follow Gods call. Nonetheless, irrespective of what we look like or even what we sound like, God, in a plan of sheer generosity freely created humanity so that we could share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at all times and in all places, God draws close to all of humanity. He calls on each of us to seek, know and love him with all our might.

Regardless of any of our physical peculiarities, he calls together all people, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, in the fullness of time, he sent his Son as our Redeemer and through him, invited each of us to become his adopted children. Then, Christ chose and sent forth the apostles to "make disciples of all nations", as we read in Matthews Gospel (28:19-20). His call is universal. One of the most important aspects of our faith is to hand it on from generation to generation so that, by professing it through fraternal sharing, more and more people might come to know the Lord.

Consequently, while it might be of interest to investigate the neurological results of a religious life, I believe it is far more important to recall that every last one of us, has been created by God to be at one with him, regardless of the way our bodies are wired! The real evidence of having welcomed Gods call is found in ones soul - and nothing can measure or examine its oneness with the creator.