Viewpoints

TWENTY SOMETHING | Waltzing on ice: on crisis and community

When it came time to interview prospective sailors for his expedition across Antarctica, Ernest Shackleton had clear-cut criteria. He had to pick the right men for his journey to the bottom of the world, a newsmaking attempt to be the first to cross the continent via the South Pole.

It was 1914, the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, and the famed British explorer had received hundreds of applications. One applicant recalled Shackleton "asked me if my teeth were good, if I suffered from varicose veins, if I had a good temper and if I could sing."

GUEST COLUMNIST | Sacred language can lift worshippers

Upon hearing about the Latin Mass, the first response often is a question: Isn't the use of Latin in Catholic worship outdated — something Vatican Council II wanted the modern Church to leave behind?

In fact, the Council's Constitution on the Liturgy decreed, "The use of the Latin language is to be preserved, ... but since the use of the vernacular ... may frequently be of great advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it, especially in readings, directives, and in some prayers and chants" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36).

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | What to do with unruly boys? Ask St. Don Bosco, mentor to the troubled

What to do with unruly boys? Ask St. Don Bosco, mentor to the troubled 

I recently looked in the backyard and saw my 5-year old son enthusiastically beating a tree with a giant stick. His brother, 7, was shirtless and balancing precariously on top of the swing set. The shirt, I noticed, had been discarded for good reason — it was crumpled on the ground and soaked through with mud. Where he found the mud I'll never know.

FOR THE JOURNEY | Where gladness and hunger meet

You may have heard this before: "The place to which God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

That line is from Frederick Buechner, an ordained Presbyterian minister, theologian and author.

Most of us, within the context of our busy lives, want to serve God, whether it's pursuing a whole new career or just finding a volunteer role. But sometimes we get bogged down in "what is God calling me to?" and we stand still.

Maybe Buechner's quote is a good one to take to prayer this year.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Our identities are hidden in the love and mercy of God

I had been attending outpatient group-therapy sessions for several weeks. Though my mental health still had much to be desired — my spiritual health, too, for that matter — I had settled into a comfortable place with these people. Not that I was overly chatty, but I talked more than I had in those first few reclusive, virtually mute days.

STEWARDSHIP | Being grateful, every day

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? Let that question sink in for a minute. Would you even be around today? Would your family, friends, job, home, food, clothing, car, parish, etc. be around today? The list goes on and on.

That question gets to the very core of stewardship — recognizing all the gifts we have been given and being grateful for them, every day.

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