Jay's Articles

Innocent suffering helps save the world

Maria Kozakiewicz

January 26, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 8, 2015

I have just talked to my friend who works with severely handicapped children. One of them, a girl aged 13, died suddenly, after a life of cruel limitations and suffering. As my granddaughter is the same age, my heart trembled at the thought of what the girl's family must be going through. Suddenly this unknown child became very dear to me. The early teens is the most beautiful time of a child's growth, comparable with the budding of roses or gentle unfolding of leaves on trees in April. I thought about Job, the symbol of suffering, and also about another small girl, whose dresses, toys and other simple mementos I saw in a church in Rome.

When will the west care about African people?

January 26, 2015

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As brutal as the terror attack was on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, it hardly compares in savagery with the Jan. 3 attack on several villages in northeastern Nigeria by the terrorist Boko Haram, which left as many as 2,000 people murdered. There are many "reasons" why the world's attention was riveted on Paris and not Baga, Nigeria. First, there are few journalists in the remote Baga region, Boko Haram having made it clear that it will shoot journalists first and ask questions, well, never. Second, the Nigerian conflict is an ongoing war while the Paris attack was (somewhat) out of the blue. Third, the Nigerian government is so ineffective that it barely responded to the massacre and, at this writing, the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, still has not commented publicly on the killings.

Holy voices best heard amidst the silence

Lasha Morningstar

January 26, 2015

Listen. I find it hard to do. Every time I kneel to pray, sit to pray, lie in bed to pray, adore to pray – even walk the dog and pray – I almost always, at some point during the prayer, whisper to God or the Holy Mother, "I don't think I am listening right." If no one is around, I even say out loud "Are you there God?" To tell you the truth, if I heard a booming voice reply "I certainly am," I'd probably run lickety-split to the doctor's office and say "I think I've got a problem." No, I think my problem, the reason I cannot know if God, the Holy Mother or whomever I am praying to is there, hearing my entreaties, my heartfelt gratitude, is that usually I do not know how to listen.

Unfinished encyclical already coming under attack

Douglas Roche

January 26, 2015

A sure sign that Pope Francis' forthcoming encyclical on climate change will capture world attention is that it is being attacked even before publication. The pope's new encyclical will be published in time to influence the UN's major meetings next fall on reducing global warming and launching a new round of sustainable development goals. The pope also intends to convene a meeting of leaders of the major religions to call for political action to save the planet from the crippling effects of carbon emissions. And also the pope himself will make a major address at the UN General Assembly in September.

At Cana in Galilee, Mary is mother of the new creation

Visits with Mary Logo – Small

January 26, 2015

In setting the scene for the beautiful story of the wedding feast at Cana (John 2.1-11), the evangelist writes first that the mother of Jesus was at the wedding, only then adding that Jesus and his disciples were also present. This would lead one to believe that the story is to be about the mother of Jesus – in John's Gospel, she is never called Mary – with Jesus playing a secondary role. In one sense, this is true. It is the mother of Jesus who first takes note of the fact that the wine has run out, and it is she who informs her son of this fact. In doing so, she receives what can only be interpreted as a stiff rebuke.

Church teaching on domestic violence too often forgotten

Bob McKeon

January 26, 2015

In the last days of 2015, Edmontonians were shocked by news of mass murder in their community. Phu Lam killed his wife, Thuy Tien Truong, five other relatives by marriage and two other adults before killing himself. Police investigators describe these murders as a case of domestic violence. Two years earlier, Lam was arrested for punching and attempting to strangle Truong. At that time, Lam threatened to kill all the members of his wife's family. Shortly afterwards Truong withdrew her testimony about the violence and threats, and charges against Lam were dropped. Lam and Truong were reconciled for a time, and had another child together. Last month the violence escalated to murder.

Sort out needs from wants to unload burden of debt

Austin Mardon

January 26, 2015

The New Year brings all sorts of traditions. My wife has to eat black eyed peas because that is the tradition from her Southern roots. We make New Year's resolutions. Those usually involve adding a good habit, or getting rid of a bad one. Most of us have trouble maintaining them for long though. It can take six weeks to six months to add a new habit or break an old habit. Our fast-paced society isn't geared to anything that takes so long to master. January brings lots of unpleasant things that don't include blizzards. It's time to start thinking about tax receipts and government forms. Many of us have yearly payments for things like insurance or memberships that come due in January.

Pope's address to curia can help us find our own failings

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January 12, 2015

Pope Francis' Dec. 22 address to the Roman curia drew considerable media attention for its alleged implied criticisms of Vatican bureaucrats. The pope listed 15 "curial diseases" which weaken people's service to the Lord, sins such as thinking one is indispensable, excessive busy-ness, the "terrorism of gossip" and "the disease of a lugubrious face." Reports on the pope's address in media were headlined in ways such as the following: "Merry Christmas, you greedy gossipers" and "Francis gives Roman curia officials coal for Christmas."

The best books that I read in 2014

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 12, 2015

The pressures of work and ministry, unfortunately, limit the time I have available to read as widely as I would like. Still, addicted as I am to books and knowing that without the insight and stimulation that I draw from them I would forever stagnate spiritually and creatively, I scrupulously carve out some time most days to read. As well, given my ministry and personality, I like to read various genres of books: novels, biography, critical essays, and, not least, books on Scripture, theology and spirituality.

God's voice is heard through pure joy

Lydia Cristini

January 12, 2015
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 18, 2015

Called by God. What does that even mean? Our Catholic faith tells us each human being has a universal call: the vocation to holiness or, in other words, the vocation to love. But each of us also has a unique call, a unique purpose, based on the specificity of who God created us to be. So, the question is: How do I hear God's specific call for my life? That's where it gets tricky. Samuel heard an audible voice saying his name. That hasn't happened to me yet.