Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Growing tribalism a symptom of me-first mentality

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
July 11/25, 2016

More than 2,400 years ago Socrates wrote these words: "I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world." Today more than ever these are words we need to appropriate because our world and we ourselves are sinking into unhealthy forms of tribalism where we are concerned primarily with taking care of our own. We see this everywhere. We tend to think that this lives only in circles of extremism, but it is being advocated with an ever-intensifying moral fervour virtually every place in the world.

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Growing tribalism a symptom of me-first mentality

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
July 11, 2016

More than 2,400 years ago Socrates wrote these words: "I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world." Today more than ever these are words we need to appropriate because our world and we ourselves are sinking into unhealthy forms of tribalism where we are concerned primarily with taking care of our own. We see this everywhere. We tend to think that this lives only in circles of extremism, but it is being advocated with an ever-intensifying moral fervour virtually every place in the world.

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Spiritual connection offered by a great hamburger

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 27, 2016

The spiritual writer, Tom Stella, tells a story about three monks at prayer in their monastery chapel. The first monk imagines himself being carried up to heaven by the angels. The second monk imagines himself already in heaven, chanting God's praises with the angels and saints. The third monk cannot focus on any holy thoughts, but can only think about the great hamburger he had eaten just before coming to chapel. That night, when the devil was filing his report for the day, he wrote: "Today I tried to tempt three monks, but I only succeeded with two of them."

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Death can surprise with either agony or simple peace

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 13, 2016

'A common soldier dies without fear, yet Jesus died afraid." Iris Murdoch wrote this. It's a truth can be somewhat disconcerting Why? If someone dies with deep faith, shouldn't he or she die within a certain calm and trust drawn from that faith? Wouldn't the opposite seem more logical, that is, if someone dies without faith shouldn't he or she die with more fear? Perhaps the most confusing of all: Why did Jesus, the paragon of faith, die afraid, crying out in a pain that can seem like a loss of faith?

The problem lies in our understanding.

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Young people wait unconsciously for God's embrace

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
May 30, 2016

A seminarian I know recently went to a party on a Friday evening at a local university campus. The group was a crowd of young college students and, when he was introduced as a seminarian, as someone who was trying to become a priest and who had taken a vow of celibacy, the mention of celibacy evoked some giggles in the room, some banter and a number of jokes about how much he must be missing out on in life. Poor, naïve fellow!

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Berrigan affected minds and hearts of a generation

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
May 16, 2016

'Before you get serious about Jesus, first consider how good you're going to look on wood!" Daniel Berrigan wrote those words and they express a lot about who he was and what he believed in. He died May 1 at age 94. No short tribute can do justice to Dan Berrigan. He defies quick definition and facile description. He was, at once, the single-minded, obsessed activist, even as he was one of the most complex spiritual figures of our generation. He exhibited both the fierceness of John the Baptist and the gentleness of Jesus.

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Beware early stages of love; you could be falling for yourself

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
May 2, 2016

The famed Jungian writer, Robert Johnson, makes this observation about falling in love: "To fall in love is to project the most noble and infinitely valuable part of one's being onto another human being. . . . "We have to say that the divinity we see in others is truly there, but we don't have a right to see it until we have taken away our own projections. . . . Making this fine distinction is the most delicate and difficult task in life." Indeed, it is. Sorting through what is genuine in love and what is projection is one of the more delicate and difficult tasks of life.

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Ritual can help us when there's nothing one can do

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
April 18, 2016

In the movie based upon Jane Austen's classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, there's a poignant scene where one of her young heroines, suffering from acute pneumonia, is lying in bed hovering between life and death. A young man, very much in love with her, paces back and forth, highly agitated and frustrated by his helplessness to do anything of use. Unable to contain his agitation any longer, he goes to the girl's mother and asks what he might do to be helpful.

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Tears free us to accept unfinished symphonies of life

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
April 4, 2016

Several years ago, while teaching a summer course at Seattle University, I had as one of my students a woman who, while happily married, was unable to conceive a child. She had no illusions about what this meant for her. It bothered her a great deal. She found Mother's Day difficult. Among other things, she wrote a well-researched thesis on the concept of barrenness in Scripture and developed a retreat on that same theme which she offered at various renewal centres.

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Dying process calibrated to bring union with Spirit

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 21, 2016

In a deeply insightful book, The Grace of Dying, Kathleen Dowling Singh shares insights she has gleaned as a health professional from being present to hundreds of people while they are dying. Among other things, she suggests the dying process "is exquisitely calibrated to automatically produce union with Spirit."

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