Speaking Out

When I was younger I had the chance to visit Rome to climb and pray on the Santa Scala. Tradition has it that these steps were part of the praetorium of Pilate in Jerusalem and that Jesus is thought to have climbed when he was sent to Pontius Pilate to be judged. The steps are considered to be so holy that pilgrims are asked only to ascend on their knees as a sign of respect and worship.

As a child of 12, I failed to grasp the true significance of this experience. Yet despite my minimal understanding, when I participated to the best of my ability, I was still able to feel a connection with God. To this day, it is still one of my most cherished memories as a practising Catholic. At the time I had not known that I had embarked on a pilgrimage. All I understood was a deep feeling of peace and thankfulness. When many hear the word “pilgrimage,” the image that comes to mind (and at one point, my own as well) is a journey. A time to put aside our lives and travel to a country or city which houses a significant religious landmark. Unfortunately, those who use this definition may hold the mentality that they are not able to partake in one due to expense or availability.

Real freedom has self-control

By
Everybody wants freedom. Everybody deserves freedom. Freedom is not simply a privilege; it is a responsibility and a right.

But what is freedom? According to one classmate, “freedom is being able to do whatever one wants.” Something about that definition didn’t sit well with me.

Movies, motives, mamma mia!

By
In my first lecture on religion and film in January, the professor had us question our attitudes towards culture through the use of movies. He said that film is the best medium to find out about the problems that exist within our culture. I agree with him, but only to an extent.

I saw his point about movies as the means for finding out problems in our culture, but as the class continued he failed to point out if it is necessary to have a lot of these problems exposed.

Friendship first, dating later

By
“Sam, do you have a boyfriend yet?” I hear this question more times than you would think. Most people are surprised that I have never gone on a date in all of my 16 years. I find that most people are confused by this, both people my own age and adults.

In today’s society, usually the idea is that if you are single you should be searching for a relationship because you can’t possibly live happily without one. I know that not every person believes this, but it can be seen in our books, movies, television, music and daily lives. The belief is that we can’t be content as singles. But is that really true?

Caring about the family

By
Family. There is nothing so precious in this world as your family. While this may sound cliché and overused, it is true.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a family is “a group of individuals under one roof and usually under one head.” However, the most appropriate definition I believe is “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation.” I think this comes closer to the family that I am a part of. Whether it is saying “Grace” together before meals, sharing a prayer during the hard times or simply celebrating the Eucharist together at Mass, it adds only to the layers of family I share in.

More than just an athlete

By
Behind every serve, every free-throw, there is an athlete performing at his or her full potential to represent their team as best as they can. To everyone around them, they are just another volleyball or basketball player, however there is much more to that athlete than the jersey he or she wears.

Throughout my years of playing high school sports, one thing I have learned is that the dedication and responsibility to maintain high-quality grades and show up to every practice, which may sometimes last until 5:30 p.m., every night are not easy.

Discovering a guardian angel

By
Six years ago, a close friend of mine met her guardian angel. As she recalls the story, she was introduced to him in a dream, a dream which she said was indescribable.

At her darkest hour the following day, she happened to be physically introduced to a young man — the same person as the angel in her dreams.

Feeling like Moses leading up to the wedding day

By
On Feb. 14 my fiancé Joseph and I will be married. As many girls do, I have thought about this day since I was six years old — the ring, the dress, the flowers, the cake, the invitations, my dad walking me down the aisle ... and the list goes on. 

Christmas spirit in a rose

By
While in Halifax for the holidays, I was given an unexpected lesson in gift-giving from a stranger.

I was having dinner at a downtown restaurant with my family when I encountered what I consider my dose of Christmas spirit for the season.

Using the weapon of words

By
I have always enjoyed meals when my entire family is present. The laughter is contagious and we all relish revisiting memories and experiences.

The topics I look forward to the most are more serious topics like politics or world issues. This is because my views and opinions would always build up and I would want to contribute. Yet because of my age, views were automatically labelled unimportant and then ignored by the older members of my family. Accepting defeat, I would then hide my frustration by concentrating on the meal before me.

Finding Gross National Love

By
“My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, ‘Good luck to you, keep yourselves warm, and have plenty to eat,’ but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.” (James 2:14-17)

I thought this passage from the Bible was a good reminder of our call to action as Christians during these tough economic times as we approach the Christmas season.