SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr Ronald Rolheiser

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October 04, 2018
We’re called to a name change. We’re all familiar with the incident in the Bible where God changes the name of Abram to Abraham. The change seems so small that often times it isn’t even picked up by those reading that text. What’s the difference between Abram and Abraham? The name Abram, meaning “Exalted Father”,
September 27, 2018
“Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” Abraham speaks these words to a soul in hell in the famous parable of the rich man and
September 20, 2018
“Woe to chastity that is not practised out of love, but woe to love that excludes chastity.” These are the words of Benoît Standaert, a Benedictine monk, and they can, I believe, be profitably read in our culture today where, to the detriment of everyone, the sexually active and vowed celibates alike, sexuality and chastity
September 13, 2018
Carlo Carretto was an Italian monk who died in 1988. For many years he lived as a hermit in the Sahara, translated the Scriptures into Tuareg and from the solitude of the desert wrote some extraordinary spiritual books. His writings and his faith were special in that they had a rare capacity to combine an
September 06, 2018
Sometimes all you can do is to put your mouth to the dust and wait.” That’s a counsel from the Book of Lamentations, and while perhaps not the best response to the recent revelations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church, it seems the only helpful response available to me as a
August 30, 2018
There’s a rich literature being written today by some highly intelligent, sensitive men and women who might best be described as agnostic stoics. Unlike some of their atheistic counterparts, whose one-sided attacks on religion suggest that they “doth protest too much”, this group doesn’t protest at all. They don’t attack faith in God. Indeed, they
August 23, 2018
A particularly powerful Gospel story recounts Jesus meeting with a Syro-Phoenician woman. Central to that story is where their encounter takes place: on the borders of Samaria. For Jesus, Samaria was a foreign territory, both in terms of ethnicity and religion. In his encounter with this woman, he is standing at the edges, the borders,
August 16, 2018
Thomas Aquinas once suggested that it’s a sin not to give a compliment to someone when it’s deserved, because by withholding our praise we’re depriving that person of the food that he or she needs to live on. He’s right. Perhaps it’s not a sin to withhold a compliment but it’s a sad impoverishment, both
August 09, 2018
Some of my favourite authors are agnostics, men and women who face life honestly and courageously without faith in a personal God. They’re stoics mostly, persons who have made peace with the idea that God may not exist and that perhaps death ends every-thing for us. I see this, for example, in the late James
August 02, 2018
Reading Commonweal magazine recently, I was struck by this line by Jerry Ryan, a Little Brother of Jesus: “I have lost contact with so many people who meant a lot to me at different stages of my life, people I loved dearly and really cared for and who had given me so much and made
July 26, 2018
 ‘He’s a loser! You’re a loser!” Among all the hurtful slurs we mindlessly utter, this particular one is perhaps the most hurtful and damaging. It needs to be forbidden in our public discourse and stricken from our vocabulary. We’ve come a long way today in forbidding certain language in our public discourse. Mostly the terms
July 19, 2018
Huston Smith, a renowned commentator on world religions, submits that you should not judge a religion by its worst expressions, but by its best: its saints. That’s also true in terms of judging the merits of vowed, consecrated celibacy. It should be judged by its best examples, as is true too for the institution of