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From the category archives: Opinions

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

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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Jesus' only 'secret' is in the open for all to know

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 15, 2015

Everyone longs to know something that's secret, to know something that others don't know, but that you know, and the knowledge of which gives you some insight and advantage over others who are outside the inner circle of that secret. It has always been so. Historically this is called Gnosticism, which is the belief that a secret insight into spiritual truth is the key to salvation.

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Light of the World is brighter than torches, lanterns

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 1, 2015

What's the use of an old-fashioned, hand-held lantern? Well, its light can be quite useful when it's pitch dark, but it becomes superfluous and unnoticeable in the noonday sun. Still, this doesn't mean its light is bad, only that it's weak. If we hold that image in our minds, we will see both a huge irony and a profound lesson in the Gospels when they describe the arrest of Jesus. The Gospel of John, for example, describes his arrest this way: "Judas brought the cohort to this place together with guards sent by the chief priests and Pharisees, all carrying lanterns and torches."

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Eucharistic Prayer should include prayer for other churches

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
May 18, 2015

Dear Bishops:

I write to you as a loyal son of the Catholic Church, with a particular request: Could you make an addition to our present Eucharistic Prayers to include an explicit invocation for other Christian churches and for those who lead them? For example, could the prayer for the Church and its leadership in our various Eucharistic canons have these additions: "Remember, Lord, your entire Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity, together with N. our Pope and N. our Bishop, together with all who help lead other Christian churches, and all the clergy." Might our Eucharistic Prayers have this kind of inclusivity?

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Refrain from offering judgements in God's name

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
May 4, 2015

Perhaps the single, most-often quoted line from Pope Francis is his response to a question he was asked vis-à-vis the morality of a particularly-dicey issue. His infamous-famous reply: Who am I to judge? Although this remark is often assumed to be flighty and less-than-serious, it is on pretty safe ground. Jesus says basically the same thing. For example, in his conversation with Nicodemus in John's Gospel, he, in essence, says: I judge no one.< If the Gospel of John is to be believed, then Jesus judges no one. God judges no one. But that needs to be put into context. It doesn't mean that there are no moral judgments and that our actions are indifferent to moral scrutiny.

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After crucifixion, rise and go forth into Galilee

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

April 20, 2015

Everything that's good eventually gets scapegoated and crucified. How? By that curious, perverse dictate somehow innate within human life that assures that there's always someone or something that cannot leave well enough alone, but, for reasons of its own, must hunt down and lash out at what's good. What's good, what's of God, will always, at some point, be misunderstood, envied, hated, pursued, falsely accused and eventually nailed to some cross. Every body of Christ inevitably suffers the same fate as Jesus, death through misunderstanding, ignorance and jealousy.

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Dying person's pain deepens awareness of life and spirit

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

April 6, 2015

Raissa Maritain, the philosopher and spiritual writer, died some months after suffering a stroke. During those months she lay in a hospital bed, unable to speak. After her death, her husband, the philosopher, Jacques Maritain, in preparing her journals for publication, wrote these words: "At a moment when everything collapsed for both of us, and which was followed by four agonizing months, Raissa was walled in herself by a sudden attack of aphasia.

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All are on trial when Jesus faces the authorities

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 23, 2015

The biblical accounts of Jesus' passion and death focus very much on his trial, describing it in length and in detail. There is a huge irony in how it is described. Jesus is on trial, but the story is written in such a way that, in effect, everyone is on trial, except Jesus. The Jewish authorities who orchestrated his arrest are on trial for their jealousy and dishonesty. The Roman authorities who wield the final power are on trial for their religious blindness.

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God wants us to take pleasure in using our talents

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
March 9, 2015

For the past six months, while undergoing treatment for cancer, I worked on a reduced schedule. The medical treatments, while somewhat debilitating, left me with still enough health and energy to carry on the administrative duties in my present ministry, but they didn't allow any extra energy to teach classes or to offer lectures, workshops or retreats at outside venues, something I normally do. I joked with my family and friends that I was "under house arrest"; but I was so grateful for the energy that I still had that being unable to teach and give lectures was not deemed a sacrifice. I was focused on staying healthy, and the health I was given was appreciated as a great grace.

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Daydreams can expand us or turn us in on ourselves

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

February 23, 2015

A good part of our lives is taken up with daydreams, though few of us admit that, and even fewer of us would own up to the contents of those fantasies. We're ashamed to admit how much we escape into fantasy, and we're even more ashamed to reveal the content of those fantasies. But whether we admit it or not, we're all pathological daydreamers; except this isn't necessarily a pathology. Our hearts and minds, chronically frustrated by the limits of our lives, naturally seek solace in daydreaming. It's an almost irresistible temptation.

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