SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr Ronald Rolheiser

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September 19, 2019
It’s no secret that today we’re witnessing a massive decline in church attendance and, seemingly, a parallel loss of interest in religion. The former mindset within which we worried, sometimes obsessively, about sin, church-going, and heaven and hell no longer holds sway for millions of people. As one parent, worried about the religious state of
September 12, 2019
According to the 7th-century bishop and theologian Isaac the Syrian, a person who is genuinely humble gives off a certain scent that other people will sense and that even animals will pick up, so that wild animals, including snakes, will fall under its spell and never harm him or her. A humble person, he believes,
September 05, 2019
Jesus says that if we follow him the cross will find us. That message is chronically misunderstood. Maybe we would understand it better if Jesus had worded it this way: the more sensitive you become, the more pain will seep into your life. We catch the connection then. Sensitive people suffer more deeply, just as
August 29, 2019
We live in a culture that idealises youth and marginalises the old. And, as the psychologist James Hillman says, the old don’t let go easily either of the throne or the drive that took them there. I know; I’m ageing. For most of my life, I’ve been able to think of myself as young. Because I was
August 22, 2019
Imagine this: a man entirely careless of all moral and spiritual affairs lives his life in utter selfishness, with pleasure his only pursuit. He lives the high life, never prays, never goes to church, has numerous sexual affairs and has no concern for anyone but himself. After a long life of this, he is diagnosed
August 15, 2019
There’s a huge difference between being bright and being wise, between brilliance and wisdom. We can be highly intelligent, but not very wise. Ideally, of course, we should strive to be both, but that isn’t always the case, particularly today. We’re living in a culture that rewards brilliance above wisdom and within which we pride
August 08, 2019
We often hear biblical scholars speak of God’s self-emptying in the incarnation, of Christ’s burying himself into anonymity, and of God’s patience in being ignored. But does God mind if we don’t give him attention for some periods of time? Is God okay with this kind of neglect? Yes, but only if that yes is
August 01, 2019
We wake up into life with the incurable sense that we’re special, that we’re the centre of the universe. And, subjectively, we are. In our awareness we’re the centre of the universe and life does revolve around us. Our own being is what’s most real to us. As Descartes famously said, the only thing that
July 25, 2019
What does it mean to be “born again”, to be “born from above”? If you’re an Evangelical or Baptist, you may have already answered that for yourself. However, if you’re a Catholic or a mainline Protestant then the phrase probably isn’t a normal part of your spiritual vocabulary and, indeed, might connote for you a biblical fundamentalism which
July 18, 2019
The problem in the world and in the churches, the American theologian Jim Wallis suggests, is that perennially conservatives get it wrong and liberals (over-reacting to conservatives) then don’t get it at all. Nowhere is this truer, I believe, than in how we discern the finger of God in the events of our lives. Jesus tells us to
July 11, 2019
The French philosopher Simone Weil once commented that it’s not enough today to be merely a saint. Rather, “we must have the saintliness demanded by the present moment”. She’s surely right on that second premise: we need saints whose virtues speak to the times. What kind of saint is needed today? Someone who can show
July 04, 2019
Each year, I write a column sharing with readers the title and a brief synopsis of the 10 books that touched me most that year. Occasionally, however, I judge a book to be exceptional enough to merit its own column. Robert Ellsberg’s new book, A Living Gospel – Reading God’s Story in Holy Lives, is