Columns

From the category archives: Glen Argan

Glen Argan

The Magi, on seeing the new king, took the path of faith

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December 26, 2011

The star led the Magi on a journey. Wise as those men were, they knew not the road they were on. Informed by a star, they set out to find a new king and, most naturally, went to the capital of the nation to which the star led.

Nothing was to be found in that centre of power. Instead, the new king was discovered among people of no importance. No rulers, religious leaders or scholars were at Bethlehem – only Mary, Joseph, Jesus and others whose names have been lost in the mist of history.

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Silence allows us to hear God's word

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December 19, 2011

It is curious that Bishop Murray Chatlain chose to devote so much of his catechesis at Nothing More Beautiful Dec. 9 to silence. After all, he was talking about Scripture, which is a veritable bounty of words. Despite that, for the bishop from the North, "In my experience, God is not chatty."

God may not be chatty, but Western society surely is. We assume that the more words we pile up, the more we contribute. The more we make our views known in conversation, the more others are convinced by our point of view. Our words increase our power the more we broadcast them. However, when there are too many words, we may not hear any of them.

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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.

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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.

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Push for euthanasia highlights crisis of the western world

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November 28, 2011

Two Canadian reports released in mid-November highlight the grave moral crisis facing Western society. First came the report of a committee of the Royal Society of Canada advocating the legalization of euthanasia, even for cases in which there has been no diagnosis of terminal illness.

The Royal Society report was followed two days later by that of a parliamentary committee calling for more effective palliative care, suicide prevention and elder abuse intervention across the land.

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Church revitalized when Gospel challenges us to lives of holiness

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November 21, 2011

St. Anthony of the Desert was a wealthy landowner in the third century. Upon walking into church one day when he was 34, he heard Jesus’ words proclaimed: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19.21).

Anthony took those words literally. He gave away some of the family estate and sold the rest, giving the proceeds to the poor. He spent his remaining 57 years in the desert, living a life of asceticism and prayer, counselling people and inspiring the development of monasticism.

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Teacher of the faith underlines Christian call to discipleship

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November 14, 2011

In his catechesis at the Oct. 27 Nothing More Beautiful session, Archbishop Richard Smith provided a succinct, thorough overview of Christian discipleship. The text of his talk, which consumed four pages in last week's WCR, might not seem concise. However, rare is the talk that would more concisely provide a thorough-going alternative to the faulty notion that being a Catholic means a life of following rules.

The archbishop hangs his hat on the Second Vatican Council's teaching that the meaning of Christ's revelation is expressed not only by his words, but also through his actions. When we try to live as Christ lived – that is, to be a disciple – we run up against our own hypocrisy. Our actions never measure up to what we say we believe.

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Mystery of human person finds fulfillment in Absolute Love

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November 7, 2011

The interfaith prayer gathering at Assisi Oct. 27 draws attention to the mystery of the human person. There, holy people, people whose focus is on the Divine, gathered in startling diversity.

One might think devotion to the one God would inspire humanity with visible unity in worship and belief. Indeed, the Catholic belief is that such unity will one day be a reality.

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Libya will need social virtues to nurture a democratic society

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October 31, 2011

Likely the first thing the new government in Libya will do will be to attempt to implement some form of democracy. Achieving that goal in a nation run for 42 years by a psychotic tyrant will be much more difficult than establishing new institutions with good procedures.

Psychosis at the top infects the entire society, creating a fearful populace and leaving people dependent on secretly whispered rumours rather than the free flow of information. A long history of decisions being made by cronyism and corruption has been established. Political opposition in such a situation is defined not by putting flowers in the gun barrels of tanks, but by taking up arms and killing thousands of people. There is no place for the reasoned, thoughtful consideration of alternatives.

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We kneel in humility before the greatness of God

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October 24, 2011

During Pope Benedict's trip to Germany last month, he raised the question of who may enter the kingdom of God. In a homily during a Mass in Freiburg in Breisgau, the pope said some agnostics – those "who are constantly exercised by the question of God, those who long for a pure heart but suffer on account of their sin" – are closer to God's kingdom than are believers whose life of faith is routine and who see the Church as mainly an institution.

The pope raised this matter, not to incite our curiosity about who is going to heaven and who is not, but to challenge us to a deeper faith.

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