Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 28, 2004
Rolheiser revisits loneliness book
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Feeling lonely and restless? Oblate Father Ronald Rolheiser may have something for you in his recently re-released book, Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness.
"It's a book that I wrote when I was young and it's written for the young," Rolheiser told the WCR.
Rolheiser updated the book at the request of his publisher, Doubleday, which wanted to reintroduce it to North America. A hardcover edition was released May 18.
The book was first released in North America in 1980 under the title The Loneliness Factor. It sold 15,000 copies. In Britain it was published as The Restless Heart in 1988 and sold about 50,000 copies.
Another reason for updating the book is that loneliness never goes away, Rolheiser said. "Even though the book is 20 years old, the issue of loneliness is no less intense."
In the "modestly revised" book, he deals with five types of loneliness.
One of them is alienation, the tendency to stay away from people.
Second, there is restlessness - a hunger for the infinite.
The third kind of loneliness in Rolheiser's book is fantasy. "Nobody talks about it but everybody has a fantasy life," he said.
The fourth type of loneliness Rolheiser deals with is rootlessness, a loneliness fed by our culture, where people move from place to place and everything becomes outdated soon after being released.
And the fifth is psychological depression, a loneliness triggered by bad body chemistry or an event such as a death or separation and divorce.
Each type of loneliness has a solution. Alienation and restlessness have opposite solutions. "Restlessness has to be turned into solitude and alienation has to be turned into community," Rolheiser said. "Fantasy has to turn into prayer."