Lasting joy, a joy that feeds heart and spirit, cannot be purchased

14-adventwreathcandles“Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud. Rejoice, exult with all your heart.” The scriptures for the Third Sunday of Advent bring us ever closer to the celebration of Christmas and summon us to joy. The Advent wreaths that decorate our churches mark this change of tempo by the more festive pink candle that is lit on this Sunday, a subtle change whose significance is not lost on the children who are generally invited to light these candles. The change of colour matches their mounting excitement as Christmas draws near.

A useful exercise on this Sunday of Advent might be a prayerful consideration of what joy might mean in our lives.

It is a difficult emotion to describe with any precision, and certainly not an emotion that can be summoned spontaneously. Lasting joy is rooted in a life at peace with itself, that is, secured in a sustaining love, and that can therefore look to the future with confidence.

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Education, evangelization go hand in hand

03-EvangelizationEducation in the Catholic tradition is indispensable to evangelization, theologian and educator Colin Kerr told the Catholic Teachers’ Guild here Nov. 20.

“The Church has always made its greatest strides when it entered most fully into the intellectual fray,” said Kerr, who taught theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ont., until taking on the position of principal this fall at Maryvale Academy, a private Catholic school in Ottawa.

The Church must not retreat from debate even if its ideas are unpopular, he said. “Good education is evangelization.”

Kerr warned, however, against using the strategies of the recent past to meet today’s challenges, noting many only look to the successes of the last century for their models.
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The Hospital: A Place of Evangelization

14-st-francis-memorial-hospital-barrys-bayThe reality of the hospital, continued the prelate, presents considerable differences from country to country. In industrial countries, for example, "in addition to the grave economic and financial crisis which has seized numerous nations, leading to an even drastic reconsideration of the health services, serious challenges must be addressed, beginning with the safeguarding of the identity of hospitals and other Catholic health premises and the maintenance of the specific subsidiary character of their role."

Remaining in the foreground, he continued, always are “fundamental” questions such as:

 -     Absolute respect of life from conception to its natural end.

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Pathways to God; the world, man, faith

14-smiling-childOf course, often we are in danger of being dazzled by the glitter of worldliness, which make us less able to travel these paths or to read those signs. However, God does not tire to look for us, He is faithful to the humanity He created and redeemed, He remains close to our lives, because He loves us. And 'this a certainty that must accompany us each and every day, even if certain widespread mentalities make it increasingly difficult for the Church and the Christian to communicate the joy of the Gospel to all creatures and all lead to an encounter with Jesus, the one Saviour of the world.
This, however, is our mission, the mission of the Church and every believer must live it joyfully, feeling it to be his or her own, through a life truly animated by faith, marked by charity, service to God and to others, and capable of radiating hope. This mission shines above all in the holiness to which all are called.
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Canadian Church self-unplugging proceeds apace

Rosica-Baum-605-605x351This is a sad thing.

Salt + Light Television as been called Canada’s lower-octane ETWN. This recent interview with ex-priest and stout defender of dissent Gregory Baum brought back memories of my time at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

Unhappy ones.

Baum came to the University to give a public talk that I covered as an eager beaver (and mush-minded liberal) college reporter. Some memories jump out at you. I nervously stood up during the Q&A to question the great man about why the Catholic Church continued to exclude women from the priesthood. His rambling answer began with, “Well, Jesus was a feminist,” and ended with a recommendation to be patient because womenpriests [tm] were an inevitable feature of the future. (The only bigger figure to descend on Halifax in those days was Hans Kung, whose monotone, sleepy delivery almost put me — an erstwhile fan — into a deep slumber.)

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