Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Do you feel like an orphan at life's banquet?

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 7, 2016

They say the book you most need to read finds you when you most need to read it. I've had that experience many times, most recently with Heather King's book, Shirt of Flame, A Year with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The title of the book is borrowed from T.S. Eliot's, Four Quartets. Eliot suggests love itself, God, is behind the torment we often feel in our fiery desires and that the burning we feel there is an "intolerable shirt of flame." King writes this book from a fiery context in her own life. She is a freelance journalist and writer, single, divorced, an alcoholic in recovery.

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Scripture holds out difficult passages to contemplate

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
February 22, 2016

A colleague shares this story: Recently, after he presided at a Eucharist, a woman from the congregation came up to him with this comment: "What a horrible Scripture reading today! If that's the kind of God we're worshipping, then I don't want to go to heaven." The reading for that day's liturgy was taken from Chapter 24 of the Second Book of Samuel where, seemingly, God gets upset with King David for counting the number of men he had for military service and then punishes him by sending a pestilence that kills 70,000 people.

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Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
February 8, 2016

At the end of every Roman Catholic liturgy, the people are invited to receive a blessing. That invitation is worded this way: Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing. The idea behind that, obviously, is that a blessing can only truly be received in reverence, in humility, with head bowed, with pride and arrogance subjugated and silent.

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Spirituality, novels, suicide: Books that moved me in 2015

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
January 25, 2016

Taste, as St. Augustine said some 1,700 years ago, is subjective. That should be acknowledged upfront whenever someone recommends a reading list. In my case, I need to state too that I'm not a full-time critic. It's not like I've read 200 books this past year and these rose to the top. I read when I can, follow book reviews, live with academic colleagues who tip each other off on good books, and I have friends who will occasionally tell me that a certain book "has to be read."

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As intimacy deepens, so does the mystery of God

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
January 11, 2016

When I first began teaching theology, I fantasized about writing a book about the hiddenness of God. Why does God remain hidden and invisible? Why doesn't God just show himself plainly in a way that nobody can dispute? One standard answer to that question was this: If God did manifest himself plainly there wouldn't be any need for faith.

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Too distracted to make room for Christ

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
December 21, 2015

Many of us arrive at Christmas tired, running, distracted, and already fatigued with the lights, songs and celebrations of Christmas. Advent is meant to be a time of preparation for Christmas; but for many of us it is not exactly a time for the kind of preparation that enables Christ be born more deeply in our lives. Instead our preparation for Christmas is mostly a time of making ready to celebrate with our families, friends and colleagues.

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Muslims are the first victims of Islamic terrorism

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
December 7, 2015

This is not a good time to be a Muslim in the Western world. As the violence perpetrated by radical Islamic groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram becomes more prevalent, huge numbers of people are becoming paranoid about and even openly hostile towards the Islam religion, seeing all Muslims as a threat.

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Our deceased loved ones can be met in Galilee

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
November 23, 2015

At any given time most of the world believes death isn't final, that some form of immortality exists. Most people believe those who have died still exist in some state, in some modality, in some place, in some heaven or hell, however that might be conceived. In some conceptions, immortality is seen as a state wherein a person is still conscious and relational; in other concepts, existence after death is understood as real but impersonal, like a drop of water that has flowed back into the oceans.

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Look through the lens of love and altruism

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
November 9, 2015

There is no such a thing as pure objectivity, a view that is free of all bias. Yet that’s the claim often made by non-religious, secular thinkers in debates about values and public policy. They argue that their views, unlike those who admit that their views are grounded in religious principles, are objective and free from bias. Their underlying assumption is that a purely rational argument, a view – in effect from nowhere – is objective in a way that religious arguments, based upon someone’s faith and religious perspective, can never be.

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Jesus' crucifixion bares same stigma as those who suicide

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
October 26, 2015

Recently I read, in succession, three books on suicide, each written by a mother who lost one of her children to suicide. All three books are powerful, mature, not given to false sentiment, and worth reading: Lois Severson, Healing the Wound from my Daughter's Suicide, Grief Translated into Words, lost her daughter, Patty, to suicide; Gloria Hutchinson, Damage Done, Suicide of an Only Son, lost her son, David, to suicide; and Marjorie Antus, My Daughter, Her Suicide, and God, A Memoir of Hope, lost her daughter, Mary, to suicide. Patty and David were in their mid-twenties, Mary was still a teen.

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