Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Look through the lens of love and altruism

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
November 9, 2015

There is no such a thing as pure objectivity, a view that is free of all bias. Yet that’s the claim often made by non-religious, secular thinkers in debates about values and public policy. They argue that their views, unlike those who admit that their views are grounded in religious principles, are objective and free from bias. Their underlying assumption is that a purely rational argument, a view – in effect from nowhere – is objective in a way that religious arguments, based upon someone’s faith and religious perspective, can never be.

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Jesus' crucifixion bares same stigma as those who suicide

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
October 26, 2015

Recently I read, in succession, three books on suicide, each written by a mother who lost one of her children to suicide. All three books are powerful, mature, not given to false sentiment, and worth reading: Lois Severson, Healing the Wound from my Daughter's Suicide, Grief Translated into Words, lost her daughter, Patty, to suicide; Gloria Hutchinson, Damage Done, Suicide of an Only Son, lost her son, David, to suicide; and Marjorie Antus, My Daughter, Her Suicide, and God, A Memoir of Hope, lost her daughter, Mary, to suicide. Patty and David were in their mid-twenties, Mary was still a teen.

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Care of one's soul means balancing its fire and glue

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
October 12, 2015

Jesus taught this and, I suspect, we generally don't grasp the full range of it meaning. We tend to take Jesus' words to mean the following: What good is it if someone gains riches, fame, pleasure, and glory and then dies and goes to hell? What good is earthly glory or pleasure if we miss out on eternal life? Well, Jesus' teaching does mean that, no question. But there are other lessons in this teaching that have important things to instruct us about health and happiness already here in this life.

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Recipe for disaster: We all think we are centre of the universe

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
September 28, 2015

There are now more than seven billion people on earth and each one feels he or she is the centre of the universe. That accounts for most problems in the world, in our neighbourhoods and in our families. No one's to blame for this, save God perhaps, for making us this way. Each of us is created in the image and likeness of God, meaning that each of us holds within a divine spark, a piece of infinity and an ingrained knowledge of that unique dignity.

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Our human nature seems to be at odds with God's will

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
September 14, 2015

An American humorist was once asked what he loved most in life. This was his reply: I love women best; whiskey next; my neighbour a little; and God hardly at all!< This flashed in my mind recently when, while giving a lecture, a woman asked this question: "Why did God build us in one way and then almost all of the time expect us to act in a way contrary to our instincts?"

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Politically correct? Just swallow hard and accept the truth

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
August 31,2015

Just because something is politically correct doesn't mean that it might not also be correct. Sometimes we have to swallow hard to accept truth. Some years ago, I served on a priests' council, an advisory board to the bishop in a Roman Catholic diocese. The bishop, while strongly conservative by temperament, was a deeply principled man who did not let his natural temperament or spontaneous feelings dictate his decisions. His decisions he made on principle, and sometimes that meant he had to swallow hard.

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Tell it like it is when writing a suicide obituary

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
August 17, 2015

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That axiom still holds true surrounding our understanding of suicide. Despite all the advances in our understanding, there remain a number of stigmas around suicide, one of which pertains to how we write the obituary of a loved one who dies in this way. In writing an obituary, we still cannot bring ourselves to write the word suicide: He died by his own hand.

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Wild love meets humanity and divinity

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
July 27, 2015

The renowned spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, made no secret about the fact that he was emotionally over-sensitive and that he suffered, sometimes to the point of clinical depression, from emotional obsessions. At times, he, a vowed celibate, was so overpowered by the feeling of being in love with someone who was hopelessly unavailable that he became psychologically paralyzed and needed professional help.

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World is saved, not by heroes, but by knights

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
July 13, 2015

Several years ago, the movie Argo won the Academy award as the best movie of the year. I enjoyed the movie in that it was a good drama, one that held its audience in proper suspense even as it provided some good humour and banter on the side. But I struggled with several aspects of the film. First, as a Canadian, I was somewhat offended by the way that the vital role Canadians played in the escape of the U.S. hostages from Iran in 1979 was downplayed to the point of simply being written out of the story.

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Eucharist's wisdom comes from beyond understanding

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 29, 2015

Christian de Cherge, the Trappist abbot who was martyred in Algeria in 1996, tells this story of his First Communion. He grew up in a Roman Catholic family in France and on the day of his First Communion he said to his mother: "I don't understand what I'm doing." She answered simply: "It's okay, you don't have to understand it now, later you will understand."

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