Jay's Articles

Carrying your cross can lead you to live a deeper life

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 17, 2014

Among Jesus' many teachings we find this, rather harsh-sounding, invitation: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. I suspect that each of us has a gut sense of what this means and what it will cost us. But I suspect too that many of us misunderstand what Jesus is asking here and struggle unhealthily with this invitation. What concretely does Jesus mean by this? To answer that, I would like to lean on some insights offered by James Martin in his book, Jesus, A Pilgrimage. He suggests that taking up our cross daily and giving up life in order to find deeper life means six interpenetrating things:

Clear criteria divide sheep from goats

Kathleen Giffin

November 17, 2014
Christ the King
November 23, 2014

With the feast of Christ the King, we come to the end of the liturgical year and our last consideration of end things before returning to the expectation of Advent. The separation of the sheep from the goats, the Gospel passage chosen for this year, is the most sobering and challenging of Scriptures. It is Matthew's account of the final judgment and the criteria that will divide all people between those who will enter God's kingdom and those who will go to endless suffering. It is a simple criterion; either we respond to those in need, to those who suffer, or we don't. We either have compassion that is put into action to the extent we are able or we don't.

Woman clothed with the sun battles against cosmic evil

Visits with Mary Logo – Small

November 17, 2014

As the Church year draws to a close, the Scripture readings that confront us are filled with apocalyptic images that herald a monumental struggle against the forces of darkness. On one hand, it is easy to see that battle being waged in world events with wars and savage killings, not only in the Middle East and Ukraine, but also in many parts of Africa. The two recent attacks on Canadian military personnel might also be viewed as indicators that this cosmic battle has even touched our peaceful land. The cosmic battle may seem remote from our daily routines until that routine is thrown into turmoil by some crime, the death of a loved one or another disturbing occurrence. Mostly, our lives seem to continue outside any overt waging of the ultimate battle between good and evil.

Redeem memory of loved ones who died from suicide

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 17, 2014

Each year I write a column on suicide. Mostly I say the same thing again, simply because it needs to be said. I don't claim any originality or special insight, I only write about suicide because there is such a desperate need to address the question. Moreover, in my case, as a Catholic priest and spiritual writer, I feel it important to offer something to try to help dispel the false perception which so many people, not least many inside the Church itself, have of the church's understanding of suicide. Simply put, I'm no expert, not anyone's saviour; there's just so little out there. Each year, that column on suicide finds its audience. I am surprised and occasionally overwhelmed by the feedback. For the last 10 years, I don't think a single week has gone by when I did not receive an email, a letter or phone call from someone who has lost a loved one to suicide.

God 'comes down to reveal his weakness

Brett Fawcett

November 17, 2014
First Sunday of Advent
November 30, 2014

p>Today is New Year's Day, liturgically speaking. November is when the Church looks forward the Second Coming, and now we leave this time of preparation to enter another one, Advent, where our eager anticipation of Christ's second Advent becomes a meditation on those who longingly waited for his first one. This expectation is expressed in the First Reading. Isaiah cries out, "O, that you would tear the heavens and come down," and reveal "your presence" to the whole earth. There are two ways that someone can beg God to "come down" and reveal himself. One is a demand that God vindicate himself, that he come out of hiding and prove to his enemies that he is who he says he is.


Parliament Hill shootings change perception of Canada

Joe Gunn

November 17, 2014

The events of Wednesday, Oct. 22 shocked the nation. Gunshots on Parliament Hill? Soldiers killed? Could that happen in Canada? The events in Ottawa that day unsettled me. Two of my female staff colleagues at Citizens for Public Justice had been invited to the Hill that morning, and were stuck in the security lockdown with members of Parliament until 9 p.m. As the hours wore on, we couldn't understand why they were not allowed to go safely home, if indeed the situation was under control. Canadians grappled with confusion and grief, hoping for events to be somehow explained, throughout the endless rounds of repeated "news."

Why people put their safety on the line to save another

Lasha Morningstar

November 17, 2014

Shock racked my mind – and no doubt thousands of others – as they watched film cameras capture citizens leaning over the dying body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. The unarmed soldier had been guarding the National War Memorial. The alleged killer moved up behind him and shot the young father. The first shots, of course, prompted people on the street to think they really were not bullets – blanks for a movie set, a drill maybe. But the minute they saw the shooter and heard someone call 911, people knew the body lying on the ground had been hit by real bullets.

Why avoid negative side of Old Testament?

Sr. Louise Zdunich

November 17, 2014

I am puzzled by your column on the Old Testament (WCR, Sept. 22). It is unfair and inappropriate to quote only positive statements and to say the whole document is sacred or the emphasis is on God's glory. No doubt that is present but your explanation is not complete and "spins" the truth of the Old Testament. There is the traditional teaching of the Church on homosexuality. Church leaders never comment on the idea of a father offering his daughters for whatever the townspeople want to do with them. What an atrocity! Further in the passage, the two daughters conspire to have sex with their father. You offer not a word about this disgusting plan, carried out. If the story requires that the reader tune out the immorality of how this parent respects his offspring, then the story is worthless. To focus on one shallow aspect of this story is anti-intellectual.

Will Supreme Court put an end to suicide prevention strategies?

Mark Pickup

November 17, 2014

These are perilous times for the sick and disabled. Canada's Supreme Court is considering whether the country's law against assisted suicide discriminates against suicidal disabled people and those with incurable illnesses. Assisted suicide advocates argue that the incurably sick and severely disabled are denied the physical ability to commit suicide that able-bodied suicidal Canadians have. This argument is so deeply flawed and ridiculous it hardly deserves comment, but I must comment: Just because someone can commit suicide does not mean they have a right to do it. There is no "right" to suicide in Canada. If there was a right to suicide, why would Parliament unanimously support the idea of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy as it did in October 2012?

Francis leads Church into an era of greater transparency

WCR Logo

November 3, 2014

What a refreshing synod of bishops! Say what you want about the final report adopted – at least in large part – by the bishops in Rome, this synod has ushered in a huge culture change at the highest levels of the Church. When Pope Francis decided to make the synod's final report public, along with the vote totals for each paragraph in the document, it brought a level of transparency never before seen. For too long and in too many ways, the Church has been tight with information because of the supposed fear of scandalizing the faithful. Oh, how ever would people react if they saw that bishops and other Church leaders sometimes disagreed over substantive issues! Indeed, the real scandal was that episcopal deliberations had to be held under lock and key with only sanitized communiques issued at the conclusion.