Finding important firsts on the social network

There are many firsts we look forward to while growing up. From our first bike ride without training wheels and our first childhood sleepover to our first date, these are moments we'll look back on fondly.

Some firsts are legal in nature: Driving and voting are both restricted until a certain age.

There are even firsts that are important not for what they are but for what they represent. Some people look forward to turning 25 because it means they can rent a car. For some, that freedom represents the last hurdle to true adulthood.

We are all responsible to promote a culture of life

Every year we are reminded of an infamous date in our history -- Jan. 22, 1973, the day of the disastrous Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. Subsequent to that decision we have observed a continuous slide down the slippery slope pulling us further and further into a culture of death.

Faith and culture are both inside us, both tell us what to think and do

In his book, "The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion and Culture," Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago writes, "Culture is a normative system, and so is faith. If the faith and culture clash or disagree, as they always do to some extent, it is because faith is a gift from God and culture is a human construct. There will be tension in us because the faith and culture are both inside us."

Faith and culture both tell us what to do, what to value and what to believe. In our modern culture, the highest value is personal freedom -- the right to do whatever we choose without the interference of others. For faith, the primary value is obedience to the will of God.

Seize the second chance in your second decade

It is nearly impossible to recognize Danny Cahill, the Oklahoma land surveyor, in NBC's Biggest Loser. But if you look closely, you can see him in the corners of his smile and the familiar glimmer in his blue eyes -- hints of the former man, eight months and 239 pounds ago.

Today the 40-year-old dad is a reality TV star, peddling an eponymous website and a hit single. "This is your second chance at life. Don't you wait there for it," he sings. "Don't let this chance pass you by 'cause you are ready for it."

Silence is the key to hearing a call to the seminary

Every man who studies at the seminary is called there by God for one reason or another. Not every man who is called to the seminary, however, is called to the holy priesthood. I am one of those men.

Christmas as your new beginning

This year, think about Christmas as a new beginning.

It was, of course, a new beginning for the whole human race 2,000 years ago, but think about it now as a new beginning for you personally, wherever you happen to be.

The fourth Gospel, the Gospel of St. John, opens with these words: "In the beginning was the Word."

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