SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr Ronald Rolheiser

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March 28, 2019
Most of us have been raised to believe that we have a right to possess whatever comes to us honestly, either through our own work or through inheritance. No matter how large that wealth might be, it’s ours, as long as we didn’t cheat anyone along the way. By and large, this belief has been
March 21, 2019
We don’t know how to celebrate things as they’re meant to be celebrated. We want to, but mostly we don’t know how. Generally we celebrate badly. How do we normally celebrate? By overdoing things; by taking a lot of the things we ordinarily do – drinking, eating, talking, singing and humour – and bringing them
March 14, 2019
What’s to be learned through failure, through being humbled by our own faults? Generally that’s the only way we grow. In being humbled by our own inadequacies we learn those lessons in life that we are deaf to when we are strutting proudly and confidently. There are secrets, says John Updike, which are hidden from health.
March 07, 2019
A colleague of mine, a clinical therapist, shares the following story. A woman came to him in considerable distress. Her husband had recently died of a heart attack. His death had been sudden and at a most unfortunate time. They had been happily married for 30 years and, during all those years, had never had
February 28, 2019
I’ve been both blessed and cursed by a congenital restlessness that hasn’t always made my life easy. I remember as a boy restlessly wandering the house, the yard and then the open pastures of my family’s farm on the prairies. Our family was close, my life was protected and secure, and I was raised in
February 21, 2019
In 1970, the British writer Iris Murdoch wrote a novel entitled A Fairly Honourable Defeat. The story had numerous characters, both good and bad, but ultimately took its title from the travails of one character, Tallis Browne, who represents all that is decent, altruistic and moral among the various characters. Despite being betrayed by almost
February 14, 2019
As a vowed, religious celibate I’m very conscious that today celibacy, whether lived out in a religious commitment or in other circumstances, is suspect, under siege and is offering too little by way of a helpful apologia to its critics. Do I believe in the value of consecrated celibacy? The only real answer I can
February 07, 2019
What is spirituality and what makes for different spiritualities? The word “spirituality” is relatively new within the English-speaking world, at least in terms of how it is being used today. Prior to the 1960s you would have found very few books in English with the word “spirituality” in their title, though that wasn’t true for
January 31, 2019
Everything is of one piece. Whenever we don’t take that seriously, we pay a price. The renowned theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar gives an example of this. Beauty, he submits, is not some little extra that we can value or denigrate according to personal taste and temperament, like some luxury that we say we cannot
January 24, 2019
No community should botch its deaths. The renowned anthropologist Mircea Eliade suggested this, and its truth applies to communities at every level. No family should send off a member without proper reflection, ritual and blessings. On December 26, 2018, the family of art and the family of faith lost a cherished member. Sister Wendy Beckett,
January 17, 2019
We all struggle not to give in to coldness and hatred. This was even a struggle for Jesus. Like the rest of us, he had to struggle, mightily at times, to remain warm and loving. It’s interesting to trace this out in the Gospel of Luke. This is the Gospel of prayer. Luke shows Jesus
January 10, 2019
In this annual round-up I will restrict myself to focusing only on books that deal explicitly with spirituality, notwithstanding some very fine novels and books on social commentary that I read this past year. But first, an apologia: taste is idiosyncratic. Keep that in mind as you read these recommendations. These are books that I