Columns

From the category archives: Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

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.

Read the rest of entry »

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.

Read the rest of entry »

God gifted us with hearts as deep as the Grand Canyon

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

August 29, 2011

It's common, particularly among religious commentators, to describe the human heart as small, narrow and petty: How small-hearted and petty we are. I find this distressing because religious thinkers especially should know better. We are not created by God and put on this earth with small, narrow and petty hearts.

The opposite is true. God puts us into this world with huge hearts, hearts as deep as the Grand Canyon. The human heart in itself, when not closed off by fear, wound and paranoia, is the antithesis of pettiness. The human heart, as Augustine describes it, is not fulfilled by anything less than infinity itself. There's nothing small about the human heart.

Read the rest of entry »

Columnist, diagnosed with colon cancer, describes its impact

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

July 25, 2011

When I began writing this column, I shared that occasionally I would do a column that was more exclusively about my personal life. I have tried to limit myself in that and, in the 28 years I have been writing this column, have probably done fewer than 10 pieces whose main focus was my own life. When I have done so, it was almost always to share with readers a major transition in my life.

This column is one of those personal pieces. My personal life is again undergoing a major transition, though this one does not concern a move to a new job or to a new city. It has to do with my health:

Read the rest of entry »

Life of learning may undermine our child-like dependence

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

July 18, 2011

I've lived and worked in academic circles for most of my adult life, studying in various universities, teaching in university circles and having university professors as close friends and colleagues. What's that world like? What kind of folks inhabit academic circles?

Perhaps my experience is atypical because most of the scholars under whom I studied and most of the theologians and other scholars who have been my colleagues became professors and university lecturers in function of ministry, as a vocation, rather than as a career.

Read the rest of entry »

Faithful prayer key to winning battle of light vs. darkness

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

July 11, 2011

Two contraries cannot co-exist inside the same subject. Aristotle wrote that and it seems to say the obvious; something can't be light and dark at the same time.

However, in terms of what's happening inside our souls it seems that contraries can indeed co-exist inside the same subject.

Read the rest of entry »

There's more to small towns than little houses on the prairie

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

July 4, 2011

In a book on preaching, entitled, Telling the Truth, Frederick Buechner challenges preachers and spiritual writers to speak with "awful honesty" about the human struggle, even inside the context of faith. Don't put a sugar-coating on things, he warns:

Read the rest of entry »

Quest for meaning trumps our striving for happiness

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 20, 2011

Am I happy? Is my life a happy one? Am I happy inside my marriage? Am I happy with my family? Am I happy in my job? Am I happy with my church? Am I happy inside my own skin?

Are these good questions to ask ourselves? No. They're questions with which to torture ourselves.

Read the rest of entry »

Press your ear to God's heart; remember you were kissed by God

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 13, 2011

The Last Supper account in John's Gospel gives us a wonderful mystical image. The evangelist describes the beloved disciple as reclining on the breast of Jesus.

What's contained in this image? A number of things.

Read the rest of entry »

Forgiveness is the deep secret to joy, dispels bitterness

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

June 6, 2011

Somewhere near his 75th birthday, Morris West wrote a series of autobiographical essays entitled, A View From the Ridge. In the Prologue of that book he suggests that at age 75 you need to have only one word left in your spiritual vocabulary, gratitude, and that maturity is attained precisely at that moment when gratitude begins to drown out and cauterize the hurts in your life.

As he describes it: Life has served me as it serves everyone, sometimes well and sometimes ill. But I have learned to be grateful for the gifts of it, for the love that began it and the other loves with which I have been so richly endowed.

Read the rest of entry »