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From the category archives: Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

When there is enough light in the world

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 25, 1999

There is a famous Jewish parable that runs something like this: Once upon a time there was a rabbi who was old, and very holy. One day he gathered his disciples and asked them this question: "When is there enough light in the world?"

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Bridging the unbridgeable gulf

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 18, 1999

Recently, Jean Vanier, the founder of l'Arche, delivered the prestigious Massey Lectures at the University of Toronto. Among many other things, he talked about crossing a certain abyss of fear. What is this abyss?

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Cracks where the light gets in our culture

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 11, 1999

"There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in." Whatever else Leonard Cohen had in mind when he coined that phrase, it says something about how wisdom, compassion and morality seep into our lives. There is a crack in everything. Our culture, of course, is no exception. Despite great technological progress and even some genuine moral achievement, all is far from well with the world. People are falling through its cracks and it is these persons – the sick, the unattractive, the broken, the handicapped, the untalented, those with Alzheimer's disease, the unborn and the poor in general – who are the crack where the light is entering. They give soul to our world.

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Christmas crib is heaven frozen in time

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 21, 1998

When Pablo Picasso was a young child, a huge fire broke out in the city where his family lived. A night of chaos followed with people rushing about the streets shouting, commotion and anarchy everywhere. Later, as an adult, Picasso recalled that night and described how, through all the commotion, he sat snug inside a harness-vest on his father's chest, watching everything around him, all the turmoil, from a secure, protected space.

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Uniting wisdom with the pulse of God's life

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 14, 1998

Some years ago, I was visiting a Benedictine monastery in Belgium when an episode occurred that still haunts me. What happened? Well, you need to picture a scene to get the full impact: It was April, but still cold and the chapel where we had just celebrated the Eucharist and the cafeteria to which we had retired for coffee lacked both for heat and light. There were about a hundred of us present, monks and seminarians mostly, along with a few lay people.

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Three reactions to the world today

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 7, 1998

A couple of years ago, David Tracy, a leading Catholic intellectual, wrote a particularly insightful essay which he entitled, On Naming the Present. In it, he tried to name the present moment by pointing out three major reactions. The first of these, he calls modernity. This version of things sees what is happening today as simply more of the same, namely, more of what has been happening already for a long time. Rationality and technology are the ultimate values.

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Our call to deeper conversion

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 30, 1998

In her masterful book, Guidelines for Mystical Prayer, Ruth Burrows has a section within which she lists the faults of those who are beyond initial conversion. What are these faults? Burrows has her own list. What I offer here is the perspective that Henri Nouwen gives in his spiritual masterpiece, The Return of the Prodigal Son. Among many things in that book, Nouwen tells us that as persons who understand ourselves as already committed, we still need to make a three-fold conversion movement:

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Why fewer people are going to church

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 23, 1998

Recently I was listening to a radio talk show that was debating the question: "Why are fewer and fewer people going to church?" The question sparked a lively response and the phone-lines were busy as callers voiced opinions. But they kept canceling each other out. Half the callers, more liberal in bent, made it clear that for them the reason people are not attending their churches is because the churches are too old-fashioned and not in step with the times.

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A soul both nameless and precious

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 16, 1998

In her brilliant, haunting book, Random Passage, Bernice Morgan describes the physical and psychological trials of the first families that journeyed from England to Newfoundland to settle at Cape Random. Life was hard. Food was scarce and of only one kind, fish; drinking water was bad, the climate was harsh, and sometimes people died because there were no doctors or medicines. Everyone had to work constantly. There were no luxuries. The struggle was for life itself and starvation was ever a threat. Then there were the cold winters with inadequate housing.

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The best atheist: Camus or Bill Gates?

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 9, 1998

Contrast clarifies vision. To set two things in opposition to each other is to see both more clearly. With that in mind, it is interesting to contrast two views on God, religion and the human soul. One is the perspective of Albert Camus, a Nobel Prize winning writer and an avowed atheist; the other is that of Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, the richest man in the world and someone who appears to be rather indifferent religiously.

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