I once attended a series of lectures given by a prominent Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, who had written a number of books around a concept he called “positive disintegration”.
Henri Nouwen, in his writings, frequently asked this question: “How can we live inside a world marked by fear, hatred, and violence and not be destroyed by it?”
Perhaps the reality that is hardest of all to accept in life is the unalterable fact that everything that is precious to us will, in some way, eventually be taken away.
For Christians, ultimately the whole world is holy and everything in it, especially the physical, is potential material for sacrament.
In her book, Survivor, Christina Crawford writes: “Lost is a place, too.” That’s more than a clever sound bite. It’s a deep truth that’s often lost in a world within which success, achievement, and good appearance define meaning and value.
Putting proper names to what is happening inside our experience is the place where we can read the language of God.
Someone once said that the law of gravity and the law of love ultimately have the same source and are both driven by the same spirit, the Holy Spirit.
Among the deeper mysteries in life is the mystery of the Ascension. It’s not so much that we misunderstand it, we simply don’t understand it.
Everything that Jesus reveals about God assures us that God’s hands are much gentler and safer than our own.
For all of us there are times in life when we seem to lose hope, when we look at the world or at ourselves and, consciously or unconsciously, think: “It’s too late! This has gone too far! Nothing can redeem this! All the chances to change this have been used up! It’s hopeless!”
There is a Norwegian proverb that reads: Heroism consists of hanging on one minute longer.
True heroism often consists in staying the course long enough, of hanging on when it seems hopeless, of suffering cold and aloneness while waiting for a new day.
We will not get in touch with the deep source of our lives if the activities of our life are so consuming and obsessive that we can never find an identity and meaning in something beyond them.
During the last years of his life, Thomas Merton lived in a hermitage in an attempt to find more solitude in his life. But solitude is a very illusive thing and he found that it was continually escaping him.
Karl Rahner had it right when he said that we do not have souls that get restless, but that our souls themselves are lonely caverns thirsting the infinite, deep wells of restlessness.
Throughout the years that I’ve been writing, I have sometimes been asked “Why do you write the way you do, invariably with some kind of secular bent? Why don’t you focus more on catechesis, teaching church doctrine, explaining the creeds, defending the church’s position on moral issues, and doing apologetics for the church?”
Psychologist and author James Hillman suggests that it is our inferiorities that build up our souls. His view is that it is not our strengths that give us depth and character, but our weaknesses.
God puts us into this world with huge hearts. The human heart in itself, when not closed off by fear, wound, and paranoia, is the antithesis of pettiness. There’s nothing small about the human heart.
I once received a letter from a woman who expressed frustration in finding support, even among her church friends, for living out a high ideal.
Our generation has some wonderful emotional and moral qualities, but patience, chastity, contentment with the limits of circumstance, and the capacity to nobly live out tension are not our strengths.
Every year Time magazine recognizes someone as “Person of the Year”. The recognition isn’t necessarily an honor; it’s given to the person whom Time judges to have been the newsmaker of the year – for good or for bad.
May the joy of the angels, the humility of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wisemen, and the love of the Christ child be among God’s gifts to you this Christmas.
“The incarnation does not provide us with a ladder by which to escape from the ambiguities of life and scale the heights of heaven. Rather, it enables us to burrow deep into the heart of planet earth and find it shimmering with divinity.”
Once while speaking at conference, a woman approached me with this story.
The story of Jesus and the meaning of Christmas can only really be understood by looking at where Jesus came from, his family tree, and by looking at how his story has continued in history.
All of us know how difficult it is for us to be inside the present moment, to not be asleep to the real riches inside our own lives.
When I first began teaching theology, I fantasized about writing a book about the hiddenness of God. Why does God remain hidden and invisible? Why doesn’t God just show himself plainly in a way that nobody can dispute?
The German poet, Goethe speaks of something he calls “holy longing”. He defines it as “a desire for higher love-making”, a longing to embrace the world and make love to it as God does this.
Chastity is not first and foremost a sexual concept. In essence, chastity is proper reverence and respect. To be chaste is to stand before reality, everything and everybody, and fully respect the proper contours and rhythm of things.
What God wants from us is not a million acts of virtue, but a million acts of surrender, culminating in one massive surrender of soul, mind, and body.
That’s a stunning truth: God loves us when we are good, and God loves us when we are bad. God loves the saints in heaven and God loves the devils in hell equally. They just respond differently.
There’s a curious line in our creed which says that, immediately following his death, Jesus “descended into hell”. What possibly can that mean?
We need to give away some of our own possessions in order to be healthy. Wealth that is hoarded always corrupts those who possess it. Any gift that is not shared turns sour. If we are not generous with our gifts we will be bitterly envied and will eventually turn bitter and envious ourselves.
A healthy spirituality needs to be predicated on a proper understanding of God, ourselves, the world, and the energies that drive our world. These are the non-negotiable Christian principles within which we need to understand ourselves, the world, and the use of our energies.
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.
Haste is our enemy. It puts us under stress, raises our blood pressure, makes us impatient, renders us more vulnerable to accidents and, most seriously of all, blinds us to the needs of others. Haste is normally not a virtue, irrespective of the goodness of the thing towards which we are hurrying.
When I was a child, our family prayed for and I spontaneously associated “a happy death” with dying cradled in the loving arms of family and church, fully at peace with God and everyone around you.
Unless you change and become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Reflections by Ron Rolheiser)
A sacrifice is any act of selflessness, of self-denial, which helps someone else. Ron Rolheiser, OMI THE EUCHARIST AS SACRIFICE As Christians, we believe that Jesus sacrificed his life for … Continua a leggere
The deep, important things that most affect us are usually not big and showy, but tiny, perhaps even imperceptible… This is even more true of the body of Christ where most of the important processes there are also invisible.
In Scripture, we see many examples of people who seek out God’s guidance in prayer, especially so when they are alone and afraid as they stand before some major upheaval or impending suffering in their lives.
Christianity and the cross (which lies at its center) can be compared to a time-released moral-capsule that is dissolving slowly in history.
Imagine yourself lying in bed some night having just had a very good time of prayer. You are flooded with strong, clear feelings and images about God. On that particular evening you have no faith doubts – you can feel the existence of God.
Daniel Berrigan once said: “Don’t travel with anyone who expects you to be interesting all the time!”
We need to become more deliberately, reflectively, and programmatically missionary within our own culture, to our own children. We need to send missionaries into secularity in the very same way as we once sent them off to faraway countries. The church in the secularized world needs a new kind of missionary.
“You must try to pray so that, in your prayer, you open yourself in such a way that sometime – perhaps not today, but sometime – you are able to hear God say to you: ‘I love you!’…
“God is love,” Scripture says, “and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him or her.” Reflections by Ron Rolheiser, OMI FINDING GOD IN COMMUNITY Too … Continua a leggere
It is hard not to be over-busy and consumed by work, particularly during our generative years when the duties of raising children, paying mortgages, and running our churches and civic organizations falls more squarely on our shoulders…
God’s voice is inside of many things that are not explicitly connected to faith and religion, just as God’s voice is also not in everything that masquerades as religious.
Why don’t we live happier lives? Why are we forever caught up in frustrations, tensions, angers, and resentments?
Reflections by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
“Like a deer yearns for flowing streams, so my soul yearns for you my God.” “My soul keeps vigil for you in the night.” Reflections by Ron Rolheiser, OMI LONGING, … Continua a leggere
During my seminary studies, I read a book by Peter Berger entitled, A Rumor of Angels, in which he tries to point to various places within our everyday experience where, he submits, we have intimations of the divine, rumors of angels, hints that ordinary experience contains more than just the ordinary, that God is there.