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From the category archives: Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Faith, like love, needs to be sustained by ritual

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 7, 2011

"Yes, junk," she said again, but a little more quietly. And that little more-more-quiet tone got me. And she went on: "You don't have to have all those reasons. We love each other. That's enough."

Irritation, anger and boredom within a relationship do not necessarily mean that love has died, as this story illustrates. Love rests at a deeper place. But how do we touch that place inside less-than-idyllic feelings?

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Suicide, like some diseases, can sadly be untreatable

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 31, 2011

Recently a friend attended the funeral of a man who had taken his own life. At the end of the service the deceased man's brother spoke to the congregation. After highlighting his brother's generosity and sensitivity and sharing some anecdotes that helped celebrate his life he went on to say something about the manner of his death.

Here, in effect, are his words:

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Healthy sex is predicated on both passion and chastity

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 24, 2011

Our world thinks it understands sex. It doesn't. Moreover it is beginning to ignore and even disdain how Christianity views sexuality.

We are paying a price for this, mostly without consciously realizing it: Sex, outside of its proper containers – respect, unconditional commitment and love – isn't bringing more joy into our lives, but is leaving us more fragmented and lonely.

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Too often good looks tend to trump all else

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 17, 2011

Nearly a century ago, Oscar Wilde wrote a famous novel entitled, A Picture of Dorian Gray. It begins this way:

Basil Hallward, a painter, has just finished a portrait of a young man of extraordinary good looks, Dorian Gray. Just as he finishes the painting, a brilliant, though highly cynical, young lord, Henry Wotton, wanders into the room, marvels at the painting and compliments Dorian on his good looks.

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Joy and fulfillment comes when a circle is complete

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 10, 2011

Today we don't attach a lot of symbolism to numbers. A few, mostly superstitious, remnants remain from former ages, such as seeing the number seven as lucky and the number 13 as unlucky. For the most part, for us, numbers are arbitrary.

This hasn't always been the case. In biblical times, they attached a lot of meaning to certain numbers. For example, in the Bible, the numbers 40, 10, 12 and 100 are highly symbolic. The number 40, for instance, speaks of the length of time required before something can come to proper fruition, while the numbers 10, 12 and 100 speak of a certain wholeness that is required to properly appropriate grace.

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Today's celebrity culture blinds us to true heroism

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

October 3, 2011

Among all the great stories in the world, the most common, best-known and perennially intriguing are those that deal with heroes and heroines. These are stories that describe someone, a man or a woman who has to journey through danger, suffering, opposition, misunderstanding and humiliation to achieve some noble goal.

These kinds of stories abound in classical mythology, Scripture, epic novels and popular movies. The details of the stories vary enormously, but they have a common pattern: For noble reasons, the hero or heroine must descend into some underworld of suffering and endure that suffering, usually in the face of fierce misunderstanding and opposition, so as to eventually emerge victorious, a conqueror, a hero, an object of admiration and as one who now somehow stands above others because of this achievement.

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Passionate fire fizzles, but devout faith builds a solid, sufficient creed

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 26, 2011

Several years ago, a friend of mine made a very un-Hollywood type of marriage proposal to his fiancé: He was in his mid-forties and had suffered a number of disillusioning heartbreaks, some of which, by his own admission, were his own fault, the result of feelings shifting unexpectedly on his part.

Now, in mid-life, struggling not to be disillusioned and cynical about love and romance, he met a woman whom he deeply respected, much admired, and with whom he felt he would like to build a life. But, unsure of himself, he was humble in his proposal.

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The mystery of Christ binds the whole universe

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 19, 2011

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in one of his dialogues with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, was asked: "What are you trying to do?" His answer was something to this effect: I'm trying to write a Christology that is large enough to include the full Christ because Christ isn't just a divine saviour sent to save people; Christ is also a structure within the physical universe, a path of salvation for the earth itself.

What is meant by this? How is Christ a structure within physical creation?

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Sacred fire fuels all of life, infuses saint and sinner alike

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 12, 2011

See the wise and wicked ones, who feed upon life's sacred fire. That's a lyric from a song by Gordon Lightfoot that tries to interpret the struggle going on in the heart of Miguel de Cervantes' mythical hero, Don Quixote. Goodness separates him from the world, even as he understands that wickedness has the same source.

There's perplexing irony in this: Both the wise and wicked, saints and sinners, feed off the same, sacred source. The energy that fuels the dedicated selflessness of the saint who dies for the poor also fires the irresponsible acting-out of the movie star who proudly boasts of thousands of sexual conquests. Both feed off the same energy which, in the end, is sacred.

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Diligent prayers nurture a deep bond with God

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

September 5, 2011

Do we ever really understand or master prayer? Yes and no. When we try to pray, sometimes we walk on water and sometimes we sink like a stone. Sometimes we have a deep sense of God's reality and sometimes we can't even imagine that God exists.

Sometimes we have deep feelings about God's goodness and love and sometimes we feel only boredom and distraction. Sometimes our eyes fill with tears and sometimes they wander furtively to our wrist-watches to see how much time we still need to spend in prayer. Sometimes we would like to stay in our prayer place forever and sometimes we wonder why we even showed up.

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