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God doesn't always demand centre stage

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 6, 2003

Last year, in a presentation at a symposium on Being Missionaries to our own Children, Michael Downey posed this question: How do we speak of God inside a culture that's pathologically distracted, distrusts religious language and Church institutions, and yet carries its own moral energy and virtue?

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Dark nights of the soul temper our faith

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 13, 2003

When Therese of Lisieux entered the Carmelites at age 15, she tried to anticipate the difficulties she would face there. She knew that many would see this as the misguided notion of an immature child, entering a convent to be with her older sisters who were already there. She knew too that because of her age she would draw unhealthy reactions from every side and would either be doted-on as the darling little child or scorned as the spoiled brat.

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In celebration of conservative roots

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 20, 2003

Sometimes it's helpful to imagine you're a strip of litmus paper and then analyze the colours you turn as you fall into the various acids of life and religion.

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Pouring forth praise smothers gossip

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 27, 2003

A friend of mine likes to tease the Jesuits about their motto: "For the greater glory of God." "God doesn't need you to enhance his glory," he likes to kid them. Partly he's right, but the Jesuits are right too: God doesn't need our praises, but we need to give praise, otherwise our lives degenerate into bitterness and violence. Why?

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Try to go beyond giving back in kind

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 3, 2003

Perhaps the most misunderstood text in all of Scripture is the one where Jesus says to us: "Unless your virtue goes deeper than that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven."

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To die and not have loved is a tragedy

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 10, 2003

John Powell once wrote a remarkable little book entitled, Unconditional Love, the story of Tommy, a former student of his who died of cancer at age 24. Shortly before he died, Tommy came to Powell and thanked him for a precious insight he had once drawn from one of his classes. Powell had told the class: There are only two potential tragedies in life and dying young isn't one of them. It's tragic to die and not have loved, and it's just as tragic to die and not have expressed your love to those around you.

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Walking tall smothers the small talk

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 17, 2003

The Gospels point out that, before his conversion, Zacchaeus was a short man, someone lacking in height, but that, after his conversion, the tall man gave back what the small man had stolen. Meeting Jesus, it seems, made Zacchaeus grow bigger in stature.

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Tend your garden of 'moral loneliness'

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 24, 2003

Therese of Lisieux was much photographed. Her sister, Celine, loved using a camera and took lots of photos of Therese. Many of these survive. And there's an interesting element in them, as Ruth Burrows once observed: In all her photographs, Therese is always alone, somehow by herself, even in a group shot. There's a quality of loneliness about her in virtually every picture, no matter how many others are in the photo.

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Purgatory leads the dead soul to heaven

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 1, 2003

"A common soldier dies without fear, Christ died afraid." Iris Murdoch wrote those words. Among other things, they unmask the simplistic notion that if one has faith and a clean conscience he or she will face death more serenely than someone who dies in bad conscience or dies lacking faith and virtue.

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Find mother Mary to rediscover your faith

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 8, 2003

Devotional prayer to Mary, the mother of Jesus, has always been the centrepiece of Catholic piety. Among other things, those devotions have focused upon various Marian shrines, places where Mary allegedly appeared, Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, Medjugorje, among other places.

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