guest columnist

IN THE LIGHT OF FAITH | Discernment begins in the everyday

The cold invigorated us as my friend and I walked through campus after an evening Mass. The first snow had fallen a few days before, and the remnants glistened in the night sky. We were college seniors, engaging in another round of What-We-Should-Do-With-Our-Lives.

Conversation touched on our friends: Would she go to med school? Will he become a priest? Are they going to get married? We were hopeful, as we discussed the shape of our futures. I would move home, work a boring job and write.

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Happiness and joy of loving God spills over into our everyday lives

About five years ago, my wife and I were received into the Catholic Church along with our children. It was one of the happiest days of my life and is a moment that people are often curious to hear about. More precisely, they're curious about what exactly happened in the years before to lead us there. I'd love to be able to give a brilliant, intellectual explanation of my thought-process and how I'm super courageous and smart, but instead I tend to furrow my brow and stammer, "It's a long story. It's, uh, hard to explain."

THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE | The crèche and the gap

For the past decade or so, I've been assembling a mid-sized Judean village of Fontanini crèche figures, including artisans, herders, farmers, vintners, blacksmiths, musicians, weavers and a fisherman or two. It's a reminder that the Lord Jesus was born in the midst of humanity and its messy history: the history that the child has come to set back on its truest course, which is toward God.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Growing as effective witnesses to Jesus Christ

A phrase I hear too often is "I don't feel comfortable evangelizing."

This expresses a significant challenge in the world today: excessive desire for comfort and convenience. Christianity often is not comfortable. A relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church can be difficult. Being Christian means being willing to practice fasting and mortification, and proclaiming the news of salvation through words and actions — whether we feel like it or not. The cross is the most perfect sign of the Christian life because it shows us how we will rise. There is no running from the cross.

IN THE LIGHT OF FAITH | Vocational discernment and anxiety

"The purpose of vocational discernment is to find out how to transform (our choices), in the light of faith into steps toward the fullness of joy to which everyone is called." These words from the introduction to the Vatican preparatory document for the upcoming synod on "Young people, faith and vocational discernment" reiterate Pope Francis' call to our Church today: to live the joy of the Gospel.

SEEKING LIFE | The lessons of our DNA

As I circulated among the guests at the wedding reception for my oldest daughter in the 1990s, a woman told me: "You look like a Jew, but you act like an Italian." I didn't know how to respond then, but now I do because I have had my DNA analyzed.

All human beings, our DNA shows, have a common ancestor, born hundreds of thousands of years ago in Africa. From that single ancestor come all the races and all the ethnicities on the planet.

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