Columns

Jay's Opinions Articles

Lent a season to sit in the ashes

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

March 13, 2000

We begin the season of Lent with ashes on our foreheads. What is symbolized by this smudging? Perhaps the heart understands better than the head because more people go to church on Ash Wednesday than on any other day of the year, including Christmas. The queues to receive the ashes in many churches are endless. Why? Why are the ashes so popular?

Popular tags:

The happy nihilism of Jerry Seinfeld

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

March 6, 2000

Nihilism has a curious variety of faces. Generally we think of it as some gloomy, philosophical ideology within which God does not exist, nothing means anything and suicide is explored as a positive option.

Popular tags:

Chastity in a post-chaste culture

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 28, 2000

Allan Bloom, the famed educator with no religious agenda whatsoever, once suggested that lack of chastity is the biggest reason why there isn't a stronger passion for life among people, especially the young, in the Western world.

Popular tags:

Amidst the storm, Jesus is still Lord

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 21, 2000

Several years ago I attended a seminar on religious experience where a woman shared this story:

A few years before this incident occurred her life had been rather settled. She had been happily married, her children were grown and on their own, and she and her husband were running a successful business together.

Popular tags:

Living in the midst of a lonely place

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 14, 2000

Robert Coles once wrote a fine biographical essay on Simone Weil. In it, he coined a beautiful phrase to describe a quality which made her so extraordinary and which also caused her much suffering. Moral loneliness, he called it.

Popular tags:

Good reasons for daily Eucharist

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 7, 2000

The long-standing Catholic practice of daily Eucharist is today being questioned: On one hand, fewer and fewer people are going to daily Eucharist and many parishes no longer even offer it. As well, more theologians, liturgists and priests are becoming less enthusiastic about promoting it – indeed, sometimes even positively opposing its practice.

Popular tags:

The danger of jumping off love's cliff

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 31, 2000

Michael Ford, in his biography on Henri Nouwen, tells how brutally honest Nouwen was emotionally. Sometimes when loneliness, depression and chaos threatened to overwhelm him, Nouwen would go to a friend's house and ask that friend to hold him while he cried.

Popular tags:

Viewing globalization from the bottom

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 24, 2000

Interesting how a different perspective can change the way things look. Globalization means one thing in the Western world, something else in most other parts of the globe. Recently I attended a Church conference on globalization in South Africa where a number of young African theologians made presentations. They do not view globalization nearly as positively as do most of us in the West.

Popular tags:

Too much sophistication closes minds

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 17, 2000

In 1987 an American educator, Allan Bloom, wrote a book entitled, The Closing of the American Mind. Its thesis is contained in its title. The book contends that today, in the Western world, we are becoming ever more shallow of soul, narrow of mind and limited in horizon. Many analysts would concur with that.

Popular tags:

Humiliation a key to following Christ

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 10, 2000

There is a story told, a legend perhaps, about St. Teresa of Avila. One day the devil appeared to her, disguised as Christ. Teresa wasn't fooled for a second. She immediately dismissed him.

Popular tags: