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The prodigal son's older brother

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

May 4, 1998

In the summer of 1985, I attended a church conference that brought together people from every continent on earth. In the group within which I was the recording secretary, there was a young nun from the Third World who was very much in the mode of Mother Teresa. She wore a traditional religious habit, had a deep life of prayer, went to Eucharist every day and nobody could have had the slightest doubt concerning her private moral life.

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Giving oneself the right to hate

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

May 11, 1998

When one reads Helen Prejean's, Dead Man Walking, what is often lost in the sheer power of the story is what she recounts at the very end of the book and intends precisely as the real ending to the story. The book ends with the story of Lloyd LeBlanc, the father of the boy who was murdered, and his struggle to forgive his son's killer.

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Baptism takes us where we'd rather not go

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

May 18, 1998

To be baptized into the church is to be a consecrated, displaced person. What is implied here? In John's Gospel, there is a revealing exchange between Jesus and Peter. Three times Jesus asks Peter: "Do you love me?" Three times, Peter replies that he does.

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All we have to do is surrender

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

May 25, 1998

The Gospel is not as much about worthiness as it is about surrender. What God wants from us is not a million acts of virtue, but a million acts of surrender, culminating in one massive surrender of soul, mind and body. When we have given up everything and are completely helpless to give ourselves anything, as we will all eventually be when we face death, then salvation can be given us.

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Joy in the midst of broken community

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 1, 1998

Carol Shields ends her recent novel, Larry's Party, with a scene depicting a dinner party. Larry, the bungling hero of her story, has invited a motley group of persons to join him for a Saturday night dinner party. The guests include his two ex-wives, his present girlfriend and an array of disparate individuals, each equipped to illustrate all the sins and bunglings in the world.

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Our need for a personal faith in God

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 8, 1998

Karl Rahner once said that the time is fast approaching when one will either be a mystic or an unbeliever. He's right. None of us can rely much longer on the fact that we were once given the faith and that we still walk within a community that, seemingly, has some faith. These things are no longer, of themselves, enough to sustain faith in an age which is as agnostic, pluralistic, seductive and distracting as is our own.

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Sexuality bursts into full bloom

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 22, 1998

The Greek philosophers used to say that we are fired into life with a madness that comes from the gods and that this energy is the root of all love, hate, creativity, joy and sadness. A Christian should agree with that, then add that God put that power, sexuality, within us so that, ultimately we might also create life and, like God, look upon what we have helped create, overflow with a joy that breaks the very casings of our selfishness, and say: "It is good; indeed, it is very good!"

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Seeing God as masculine and feminine

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 29, 1998

The issue of God's gender is not one that can be trivialized and seen simply as something arising from feminist ideological concern – "It is important for women that God not be conceived of as exclusively masculine!" Much more is at stake than a feminist agenda. How we conceive of God has immense consequences for all of us, in ways that we rarely imagine.

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Suicide is most misunderstood of all deaths

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

July 13, 1998

There is perhaps nothing more painful in the world than for us to lose a loved one to suicide. A couple of months ago, I received a letter from a woman, a mother, who had recently lost her 28-year-old son in this manner. The young man had been suffering from clinical depression for nearly eight years when he took his own life.

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Promise Keepers offer tough discipline

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

July 20, 1998

It draws very different reactions. Liberals see it as a dangerous move by the religious right. The National Organization for Women in the U.S. calls it "the greatest danger to women's rights." Thousands of other women praise it. Tens of thousands of men flock to its gatherings where they weep tears of repentance and pledge to rejoin family and church. What is Promise Keepers and what's to be said about it?

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