Columns

From the category archives: Opinion

Opinion

The Spirit's love is inside all things

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 12, 1998

Someone once said that the law of gravity and the law of love ultimately have the same source and are both driven by the same spirit, the Holy Spirit. Would that we realized the truth of that! If we recognized how the Holy Spirit is present in everything – physical creation, love, human creativity and morality – perhaps we could hold more things together in a fruitful tension rather than so often opposing them and having different gifts of the Holy Spirit fight each other within our lives.

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Social situation affects Church's agenda

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 5, 1998

What is the crucial agenda facing the Church today? What issues should the Church be addressing? The answer depends a lot upon one's perspective. Presently I am attending a general chapter of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. This month-long meeting is being held in Rome and has brought together delegates from every region in the world. More than 65 countries are represented.

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Save spiritual pruning for those over 50

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 28,1998

Several years ago, I preached a homily on the importance of taking our self-image from who we are rather than from what we do. The Gospel passage for that Sunday was the famous incident where Mary sits at Jesus' feet, seemingly doing nothing, while Martha is consumed with the practical business of doing things. Jesus, as we know, tells us that Mary "has chosen the better part." This has long been a favoured passage for anyone trying to make the point that being is more important than doing, that our value lies in who we are and not in what we do, and that spiritual maturity lies in appropriating this important truth.

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The poverty of sexual unattractiveness

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 21, 1998

In a recent novel, Love, Again, Doris Lessing, with her usual genius, paints a picture of the soul of a late middle-aged woman, Sarah Durham, as she, Sarah, spends a summer painfully infatuated with a man young enough to be her grandson. The love is hopeless, of course, and it brings Sarah nothing but heartache and restlessness. And it is surprising too for she is the epitome of maturity and common sense and has, for more than 20 years since the death of her husband, felt herself beyond the tears that come with these kinds of falling in love.

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Faith found in selfless service to others

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 14, 1998

There is a story about St. Christopher, probably more legend than truth, which runs this way: As a youth, Christopher was gifted in every way, except faith. He was a big man physically, powerful, strong, good-hearted, mellow and well-liked by all. He was also generous, using his physical strength to help others.

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The desire for higher love-making

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

August 31, 1998

William Blake once coined a series of pithy aphorisms on desire and frustration. Among them, we find: "Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained – and in being restrained it does by degrees become passive until at last it is nothing but the shadow of a desire. . . . Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires."

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A true gift must be given twice

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

August 24, 1998

A gift is only a gift if given twice. Understood correctly, this is not a conundrum but a key to help us out of an inchoate guilt that afflicts us all. Inside each of us there are guilt feelings. Some of these have a clear root within our lives and are painful reminders of things we have done or left undone.

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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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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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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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