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Father Ron Rolheiser


  • The value and power of ritual

    Today we no longer understand the value and power of ritual. This is more than an individual failing. It’s the cultural air we breathe. In the words of Robert L. Moore, we’ve gone “ritually tone-deaf.” The effects of this can be seen everywhere: Allow me two examples:
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  • The deepest secret inside wisdom

    Everyone longs to know something that’s secret, to know something that others don’t know, but that you know, and the knowledge of which gives you some insight and advantage over others who are outside the inner-circle of that secret. It has always been so. Historically this is called Gnosticism, which forever makes an appearance in one form or another.
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  • ‘Inordinate Attachments’: Moral flaw or struggle with divine energy?

    The renowned spiritual writer Henri Nouwen made no secret about the fact that he was emotionally oversensitive and that he suffered, sometimes to the point of clinical depression, from emotional obsessions.
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  • Artificial light

    What’s the use of an old-fashioned, hand-held lantern? Well, its light can be quite useful when it’s pitch dark, but it becomes superfluous and unnoticeable in the noonday sun. Still, this doesn’t mean its light is bad, only that it’s weak.
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  • Evolution’s ultimate wisdom

    Evolution, Charles Darwin famously stated, works through the survival of the fittest. Christianity, on the other hand, is committed to the survival of the weakest. But how do we square our Christian ideal of making a preferential option for the weak with evolution?
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  • Praying for those not of this fold: An open letter to Roman Catholic bishops

    I write to you as a loyal son of the Catholic Church, with a particular request: Could you make an addition to our present Eucharistic Prayers to include an explicit invocation for other Christian Churches and for those who lead them?
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  • Who am I to judge?

    Perhaps the single, most-often quoted line from Pope Francis is his response to a question he was asked vis-à-vis the morality of a particularly-dicey issue. His, infamous-famous reply: “Who am I to judge?”
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  • Principles for interfaith dialogue

    We live inside a world and inside religions that are too given to disrespect and violence.
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  • Where to find resurrection

    Something there is that needs a crucifixion. Everything that’s good eventually gets scapegoated and crucified. How?
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  • The Passion of Jesus

    The renowned spiritual writer Henri Nouwen shares how he once went to a hospital to visit a man dying of cancer. The man was still relatively young and had been a very hardworking and generative person. He was the father of a family and provided well for them.
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  • Euthanasia and physician-assisted death

    Raissa Maritain, the philosopher and spiritual writer, died some months after suffering a stroke.
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  • Seeing in a deeper way

    Sometimes you can see a whole lot of things just by looking. That’s one of Yogi Berra’s infamous aphorisms. It’s a clever expression of course, but, sadly, perhaps mostly, the opposite is truer.
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  • Fear masking itself as piety

    It is easy to mistake piety for the genuine response that God wants of us, that is, to enter into a relationship of intimacy with him and then try to help others have that same experience.
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  • God’s pleasure in our action

    For the past six months, while undergoing treatment for cancer, I was working on a reduced schedule.
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  • Christ and nature

    Numerous groups and individuals today are challenging us in regards to our relationship to mother earth.
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  • Our daydreams

    A good part of our lives are taken up with daydreams, though few of us admit that and even fewer of us would own up to the contents of those fantasies.
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  • Our eyes as windows to our souls

    Most all of us worry about aging, especially in how it affects our bodies. We worry about wrinkles, bags under our eyes, middle-age fat and losing hair where we want it only to find it on places where we don’t want it.
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  • The positive side of melancholy

    Normally none of us like feeling sad, heavy, or depressed. Generally we prefer sunshine to darkness, lightheartedness to melancholy.
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  • God inside our divisions

    Christian de Cherge, the Trappist abbott who was martyred in Algeria in 1996, was fond of sharing this story: He had a very close Muslim friend, Mohammed, and the two of them used to pray together, even as they remained aware of their differences, as Muslim and Christian.
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  • The importance of the interior and private

    We can never be challenged too strongly with regard to being committed to social justice. A key, nonnegotiable, summons that comes from Jesus himself is precisely the challenge to reach out to the poor, to the excluded, to those whom society deems expendable.
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