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From the category archives: Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Chastity lets sexual energies flow in life-giving ways

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 23, 2012

To live a chaste life is not easy, not just for celibates, but for everyone. Even when our actions are all in line, it is still hard to live with a chaste heart, a chaste attitude and chaste fantasies. Purity of heart and intention is difficult.

Why? Chastity is difficult because we are so incurably sexual in every pore of our being. That is not a bad thing. It's God's gift. Far from being something dirty and antithetical to our spiritual lives, sexuality is God's great gift, God's holy fire, inside us. The longing for consummation is a conscious or inchoate colouring underlying most every action in our lives.

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Dark night of the soul allows God to make us in his image

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 16, 2012

Few people have ever written as penetrating a critique of faith and religion as have Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Feuerbach. "God is dead," Nietzsche declared, "and we are his murderers." We murder God, he contends, in subtle ways to which we are entirely blind.

In a vast over-simplification, their critique might read as follows: Faith and religion are, in the end, human projections. We believe in God because we need to, pure and simple. We create God to serve our own needs. We need to believe in God because without a belief in God, we cannot deal with the pain, brokenness, inadequacy and limits within our own lives.

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Only prayer can open our eyes to our call to share in divine life

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 26, 2011

Familiarity breeds contempt. It also blocks the mystery of Christmas by breeding a view of life that cannot see divinity within humanity.

Yet all of us are hopelessly prone to see most everything in an over-familiar way, namely, in a way that sees little or nothing of the deep richness and divinity that is shimmering everywhere under the surface. G.K. Chesterton, reflecting on this, once declared that one of the deep secrets of life is to learn to look at things familiar until they look unfamiliar again. Alan Jones calls this a process of unlearning what's familiar.

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Surrender to God in prayer and you shall be answered

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 19, 2011

In her autobiography, The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day tells of a difficult time in her life. She had just converted to Christianity, after a long period of atheism, and then given birth to her daughter.

During her season of atheism, she had fallen in love with a man who had fathered her child, and she and this man, atheists disillusioned with mainstream society, had made a pact never to marry, as statement against the conventions of society.

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Surrender to prayer and release yourself from paralyzing fear

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 12, 2011

One reason we need to pray is so that we don't lose heart. We all do sometimes. We lose heart whenever frustration, tiredness, fear and helplessness in the face of life's humiliations conspire to paralyze our energies, deaden our resiliency, drain our courage and leave us feeling weak in depression.

Poet Jill Alexander Essbaum gives us a poignant example of this in her poem Easter. Reflecting on the joy that Easter should bring into our lives, she shares that Easter can instead be a season of defeat for us because its celebration of joy can highlight the shortcomings of our own lives and leave us with the feeling that everyone I've ever loved lives happily just past my able reach.

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Only prayer can take us to the deepest depth of our souls

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 5, 2011

In our more reflective moments we sense the importance of prayer; yet, we struggle to pray. Sustained deep prayer doesn't come easy for us. Why?

First, we struggle to make time for prayer. Prayer doesn't accomplish anything practical for us, it's a waste of time in terms of tending to the pressures and tasks of daily life, and so we hesitate to go there. Coupled with this, we find it hard to trust that prayer actually works and brings about something real in our lives.

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Entry to heaven requires reference letter from the poor

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 28, 2011

I doubt that any of us would have the raw courage to preach this, just as it is written in the Gospels, from any pulpit today. Yet Jesus meant it. Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.

Now there's a whole series of challenges in this.

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Moral battles are won with reason, courtesy, respect

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 21, 2011

Today, both within society and the churches, we are finding it ever more difficult to resolve differences because our conversations are shot through with non-civility, name-calling, character-assassination and disrespect.

What’s particularly worrying is that we do this in the name of truth, cause, the Gospel and Jesus. We are giving ourselves permission to hate, demonize and disrespect each other in God’s name. Our cause seems so important that, consciously or unconsciously, we give ourselves permission to bracket some of the essentials of Christian charity, namely respect, graciousness, love and forgiveness.

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Death takes us on a lonely path, the same as Jesus trod

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 14, 2011

When I was 22 years old, a seminarian, I was privileged to have a unique kind of desert experience. I sat with my siblings in a palliative care room for several weeks, watching my father die.

My father was young still, 62, and in good health until being struck with pancreatic cancer. He was a man of faith and he brought that to his final struggle. He wasn't afraid of God, whom he had served all his life, nor of the afterlife, which his faith assured him was to be joy-filled.

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Faith, like love, needs to be sustained by ritual

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 7, 2011

"Yes, junk," she said again, but a little more quietly. And that little more-more-quiet tone got me. And she went on: "You don't have to have all those reasons. We love each other. That's enough."

Irritation, anger and boredom within a relationship do not necessarily mean that love has died, as this story illustrates. Love rests at a deeper place. But how do we touch that place inside less-than-idyllic feelings?

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