Columns

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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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It'll take a 'life jacket' to get through 2015

Lasha Morningstar

MJanuary 12, 2015

December 31, 2015. Where will you be on that day? What will you have done that year? I know what you are thinking. You think I am going to ask you if you have made resolutions? Then you will probably say – just like the rest of us – "Nope. Don't make resolutions. I just end up breaking them." What I am really saying is, God be willing, we are all going to go through this year and reach that date. What will we have achieved?

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Family will struggle to adapt as son faces life in a wheelchair

Mark Pickup

January 12, 2015

It was a freakish accident that had catastrophic results. A few days after moving to my community, 13-year-old Lincoln Grayson fell off his bicycle and broke his neck. He was rushed to the Stollery Children's Hospital where doctors worked frantically to initially save his life and then stabilize his condition. They induced a coma to completely immobilize him and performed a number of surgeries. Lincoln is now quadriplegic.

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Small gestures can fulfill yearning for love

Kathleen Giffin

January 12, 2014
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 25, 2015

Gordon Neufeld tells a story of meeting a young man who had extraordinary success in overcoming an early childhood of abuse and neglect. When asked what had sustained him to continue to choose life and goodness instead of the despair and self-destruction so typical of those who suffered as he had, he told this story: Someone had taken him to church once when he was young. He was sitting by the aisle when, at the end of Mass, the priest walked by in the closing procession.

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New Year's can be time to restart the engines

Dr. Gerry Turcotte

January 12, 2015

I was struck by the following quote that is often repeated in the context of New Year's resolutions: "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." It's an inspirational statement, though you might be forgiven for thinking that such messages sometimes fall flat when you are really struggling. Many complain that New Year's Day is an equally provisional symbol of a fresh start . . . as though all the pain or joy, the failures or successes of the past year suddenly vanish just because we reset the clock.

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Pope gives blessing to global movements striving for change

Joe Gunn

January 12, 2015

Chances are that you will never have heard of this encounter. There is no document about it in English. Only one person attended from Canada. Yet, this event tells us much about the priorities of Pope Francis and the model of Church that he wants Catholics to live into. A Toronto-based trade union activist, Judith Marshall, brought to the attention of her friends a report on the pope's participation in something called The World Meeting of Popular Movements.

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U.S. gov't turns a blind eye in the face of torture

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December 29, 2014

While one should certainly be appalled by the findings of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee's report on CIA torture, one should not be surprised. The CIA, after all, is a spy agency charged with obtaining confidential information about possible threats to national security. That it would actively avoid and impede White House and congressional supervision about its techniques for obtaining information should also be no surprise. A spy agency needs to get information from unwilling sources, and it is disingenuous to think that such information is always obtained over a cup of coffee in a relaxed setting. When it resorts to torture, as the CIA did on numerous occasions, political oversight becomes an obstacle to carrying out the mission.

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