Jay's Articles

The Splendour of God's Word

December 19, 2011
Bishop Murray Chatlain

Since I will be speaking about the centrality of Sacred Scripture in the life of the disciple, I wanted to start with a joke that includes Scripture references.

Back 900 years ago, as Archbishop Joe MacNeil would say, when I was a young, enthusiastic parish priest I was visiting my parishioners. I came to one house and I rang the doorbell. Though I could hear someone moving about inside, no one answered the door. I took out my card and I wrote on the back of it Revelation 3.20: "Behold, I am at the door knocking."

How can I find the meaning of Christmas

Sr. Louise Zdunich

December 19, 2011

Christmas was so exciting when I was a child. But sadly, I have lost the meaning of Christmas. I have heard others voicing the same opinion. How can I find Christmas again?

Advent gives us a sacred place to prepare for Jesus' birth

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December 12, 2011

It is a good thing we have Advent, that season of joyful expectation. Advent becomes more precious every year as the Western world increasingly uses December (and November) to denigrate the human person into a consumption machine whose main social purpose is to prop up a flagging economy.

In Advent, we celebrate anticipation, an anticipation that can never be sated by material possessions. It is only through the coming of God that men and women can be fulfilled. It is only through the divine life with which we are graced by participation in Word and sacrament that we gain a slight taste of the gift that transcends all consumption.

Surrender to prayer and release yourself from paralyzing fear

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 12, 2011

One reason we need to pray is so that we don't lose heart. We all do sometimes. We lose heart whenever frustration, tiredness, fear and helplessness in the face of life's humiliations conspire to paralyze our energies, deaden our resiliency, drain our courage and leave us feeling weak in depression.

Poet Jill Alexander Essbaum gives us a poignant example of this in her poem Easter. Reflecting on the joy that Easter should bring into our lives, she shares that Easter can instead be a season of defeat for us because its celebration of joy can highlight the shortcomings of our own lives and leave us with the feeling that everyone I've ever loved lives happily just past my able reach.

God will answer prayers in his own way

Kathleen Giffin

December 12, 2011
Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 18, 2011

There is a pink pencil in the pen holder on my husband's desk. It is 23 years old now, and holds special significance to us because it is the last of those handed out to our friends on the occasion of the birth of our second child.

The days and weeks after her birth were a difficult time for us, for she was diagnosed with a heart defect and Down Syndrome the day she was born. Airlifted to the city, medical interventions, developmental supports, more hospitalizations all followed in the succeeding months.

Women shackled by poverty, low wages

Joe Gunn

December 12, 2011

As I re-read the Scripture that recounted that first Christmas, it occurred to me that women and their particular needs are often forgotten. On women, and their particular concerns, a light had not yet shone.

A male authority, Caesar Augustus, decided "all the world should be registered." Mary "belonged" to the family of her betrothed, the carpenter Joseph, and so had to travel to his hometown to be counted. No one bothered to ask a humble pregnant woman if an exhausting trip was in her own plan or her best interest - she simply had to go.

Liturgical translation offers a vibrant richness to prayer life

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December 5, 2011

Since at least the Second World War, there has been a gradual flattening out of human experience in the Western world. Human communication is increasingly mediated by technology. Entertainment is now something we receive rather than something we create. The power of the neighbourhood has been eroded by urban planning, birth control, larger houses and the omnipresence of the automobile.

Even the colour of new homes has become a non-descript, homogenized diminishment of colour. Rural life is in decline because of mechanized agriculture and the lure of city life.

Only prayer can take us to the deepest depth of our souls

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 5, 2011

In our more reflective moments we sense the importance of prayer; yet, we struggle to pray. Sustained deep prayer doesn't come easy for us. Why?

First, we struggle to make time for prayer. Prayer doesn't accomplish anything practical for us, it's a waste of time in terms of tending to the pressures and tasks of daily life, and so we hesitate to go there. Coupled with this, we find it hard to trust that prayer actually works and brings about something real in our lives.

Mary's spirit rejoices in God her Saviour

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 5, 2011
Third Sunday in Advent
December 11, 2011

There are few words of Mary, mother of God, preserved in Scripture. She is the quietest of biblical women and although she is Jesus' first and the longest-serving disciple and also the one who stood by him under the cross, we hardly hear her voice.

There is the simple question she asks the angel Gabriel: "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" and then comes her consent: "Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."

So whose birthday is it anyway?

Bishop Fred Henry

December 5, 2011

An eight-year-old boy named Jason lived in the land of puzzling tales where the unexpected always happened.

Instead of football, they played knee-ball; instead of children going to school, the teachers went to homes. In the summer, it was not uncommon to see the water freeze; in the winter, leaves grew on the trees. It was a strange place.