Rolheiser, Ronald
838 Articles at

Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest, is the General Councillor for Canada for his order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He has offices in both Toronto and Rome. For most of the 26 years of his priesthood, he taught theology and philosophy at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta. He remains an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University. He has written many books, (won Catholic Book Award in 1996), is a regular columnist in a number of papers, and has articles published in Louvain Studies, Critic, America, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Spirituality and in various other popular magazines.

Areas of Specialty: Systematic Theology and Philosophy Areas of Concentration: Augustine, Mysticism (John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux) and Spirituality (contemporary spiritualities, contemporary questions: ecology, feminism, masculine spirituality, religion and culture) Graduate Education: University of San Francisco, USA and University of Louvain, Belgium.



Currently showing only those Articles posted in: 2017

Stuck in Traffic

We ourselves have become so rigid, arrogant, and sure of ourselves that we can no longer respect those who think differently than we do.

Date posted: 2017-09-02

The Power of Ritual

Ritual practice keeps us doing what we should be doing (praying, working, being at table with our families, being polite) even when our feelings aren't always onside. We need to do certain things not because we always feel like doing them, but because it's right to do them.

Date posted: 2017-09-01

God Needs Better Press

The word "Protestant" is generally misunderstood. Martin Luther's protest that led to the Protestant reformation was not, in fact, a protest against the Roman Catholic Church; properly understood, it was a protest for God.

Date posted: 2017-08-30

Our Utmost in Dealing with our Faith

The complexity of adulthood inevitably puts to death the naivete of childhood. And this is true too of our faith. Not that faith is a naivete. It isn't. But our faith needs to be constantly reintegrated into our persons and matched up anew against our life's experience; otherwise we will find it at odds with our life. But genuine faith can stand up to every kind of experience, no matter its complexity.

Date posted: 2017-08-14

Suicide - Redeeming the Memory of a Loved One

Each year I write a column on suicide, hoping it might help produce more understanding around the issue and, in a small way perhaps, offer some consolation to those who have lost a loved one in this way.

Date posted: 2017-08-03

Angels and the City

As Christians, we believe that we're both body and soul, flesh and spirit, and that neither can be separated from the other. We're both mammal and angel, and in our search for life, meaning, happiness, and God, we should not forget that we are both. Our spirit is open to life only through our senses, and our senses provide depth and meaning only because they are animated by spirit.

Date posted: 2017-07-31

The Gospel Challenge to Enjoy our Live

Joy is an infallible indication of God's presence, just as the cross is an infallible indication of Christian discipleship. What a paradox! And Jesus is to blame.

Date posted: 2017-07-31

Understanding Grace more Deeply

The mark of genuine contrition is not a sense of guilt, but a sense of sorrow, of regret for having taken a wrong turn; just as the mark of living in grace is not a sense of our own worth but a sense of being accepted and loved despite our unworthiness. We are spiritually healthy when our lives are marked by honest confession and honest praise.

Date posted: 2017-07-15

Inchoate Desire

Sometimes while praying the Psalms, I'm caught looking quite uncomfortably into a mirror reflecting back to me my own seeming dishonesty.

Date posted: 2017-07-09

To Whom Can We Go?

"To whom else shall we go? You have the message of eternal life." Peter says these words to Jesus.

Date posted: 2017-07-07

The Seamless Garment

John of the Cross teaches that within spirituality and morality there are no exempt areas. Simply put, you cannot be a saint or a highly moral person if you allow yourself a moral exemption or two

Date posted: 2017-06-21

Being Good-Hearted is Not Enough

Charity is about being good-hearted, but justice is about something more.

Date posted: 2017-06-21

Christianity and Noon-Day Fatigue

There's a popular notion which suggests that it can be helpful to compare every century of Christianity's existence to one year of life. That would make Christianity twenty-one years old, a young twenty-one, grown-up enough to exhibit a basic maturity but still far from a finished product. How insightful is this notion?

Date posted: 2017-06-21

Going On, Ahead

"I go on ahead to prepare a place for you!" Jesus speaks those words to his disciples on the eve of his death as he sits at table with them and senses their sadness as they grapple with his dying, his going away. His words are meant to console them and give them the assurance that they aren't being abandoned. It's just that he is going on ahead to prepare a place for them to come and join him later.

Date posted: 2017-06-02

When does Faith Disappear?

It has been said that atheist is just another name for someone who cannot get metaphor. Perhaps that's too simple, but it does suggest that rejecting a set of theological propositions is not the same thing as losing one's faith.

Date posted: 2017-06-02

Coming Full Circle - From Story Books to Spirituality

During my undergraduate university years, literature was a major part of the curriculum and I learned then that literature wasn't just about stories, but also about social and religious commentary; as well as about form and beauty as ends in themselves.

Date posted: 2017-05-22

Despair as Weakness Rather than Sin

To believe and teach that God withholds mercy from those who are most broken in spirit betrays a profound misunderstanding of the nature and mercy of God who sends Jesus into the world, not for the healthy but for those who need a physician.

Date posted: 2017-05-21

An Extraordinary Book

This isn't a story that follows the classical genre for the lives of the saints, where form is often exaggerated to highlight essence and the result is an over-idealization that paints the saint into an icon.

Date posted: 2017-05-07

Becoming a Hole Beggar

With the exception of scripture and a few Christian mystics, Christian spirituality, up to now, has been weak in presenting us with a vision for our retirement years

Date posted: 2017-05-04

Five Hundred Years of Misunderstanding

The heart has its reasons, says Pascal, and sometimes those reasons have a long history.

Date posted: 2017-04-17

Doing Violence in God's Name

Blaise Pascal once wrote: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." How true! This has been going on since the beginning of time and is showing few signs of disappearing any time soon. We still do violence and evil and justify them in God's name.

Date posted: 2017-03-31

Our Shadow and our Self-Understanding

What is meant when certain schools of psychology today warn us about our "shadow"? What's our shadow?

Date posted: 2017-03-31

The Flavor of God's Energy

When we try to imagine the heart of reality, we might picture things this way: At the very center of everything there sit two thrones, on one sits a King and on the other sits a Queen, and from these two thrones issues forth all energy, all creativity, all power, all love, all nourishment, all joy, all playfulness, all humor, and all beauty.

Date posted: 2017-03-11

Of Winners and losers

Our society tends to divide us up into winners and losers. Sadly, we don't often reflect on how this affects our relationships with each other, nor on what it means for us as Christians.

Date posted: 2017-02-23

Welcoming the Stranger

In the Hebrew Scriptures, that part of the bible we call the Old Testament, we find a strong religious challenge to always welcome the stranger, the foreigner.

Date posted: 2017-02-23

Embittered Moralizing

One of the dangers inherent in trying to live out a life of Christian fidelity is that we are prone to become embittered moralizers, older brothers of the prodigal son, angry and jealous at God's over-generous mercy, bitter because persons who wander and stray can so easily access the heavenly banquet table

Date posted: 2017-02-11

Thou Shalt Not Kill!

Henri Nouwen once said that nobody is shot with a bullet who is not first shot with a word - and nobody is shot with a word who is not first shot with a thought.

Date posted: 2017-02-04

Other Sheep Not Of Our Flock

We tend to believe that "blood is thicker than water" and so we sometimes defend our own families, ethnic groups, countries, and churches, even when they do wrong things. What Jesus affirms is that "faith is thicker than blood" and, even more deeply, that faith is also thicker than denominational or religious affiliation.

Date posted: 2017-02-01

God's Power as Powerlessness

When we look at the struggles within our world and within our private lives, it often seems like divine power is forever being trumped by human power.

Date posted: 2017-01-29

What Makes for a Practising Christian?

People are treating their churches just like they treat their families. Isn’t that as it should be? Theologically the church is family – it’s not like family, it is family.

Date posted: 2017-01-29

The Storm on the Lake

The Synoptic gospels record the story of Jesus calming the waters during a storm on the lake.

Date posted: 2017-01-29

Acedia and Sabbath

Early Christian monks believed in something they called, Acedia. More colloquially, they called it, the Noonday Devil, a name that essentially describes the concept.

Date posted: 2017-01-29

Searching for the Right Fuel

Jesus lived a life of radical generosity and self-surrender, yet never fell into the kind of self-pity that emanates from the sense of having missed out on something.

Date posted: 2017-01-29

The Need to Admire

The incapacity to admire others doesn't just afflict journalists. It seems to be a universal disease today. Why? What's causing this? Why do others and the things around us never seem good enough, never seem worthy of admiration? Why do we always find fault in everyone and everything?

Date posted: 2017-01-18

Taking our Wounds to the Eucharist

Recently a man came to me, asking for help. He carried some deep wounds, not physical wounds, but emotional wounds to his soul.

Date posted: 2017-01-17

In Defense of Mystery

Never assume that religious language is anywhere near adequate; albeit it's useful. No theology, however good, gives you a picture of God. Good theology helps you know something that you can't think or picture. The heart knows things that the mind cannot picture and our experience is full of a richness for which we never find adequate words. Thank God for that. That's the heart of faith.

Date posted: 2017-01-17

The Loneliness of Leaving Home

Among the kinds of loneliness that afflict us, there's one we don't often recognize and deal with very well, the loneliness of moving on. There's a loneliness that comes with leaving home, with forever losing loved ones, loved places, and loved things.

Date posted: 2017-01-17

Orthodoxy, Sin, and Heresy

Does the Catholic Church really teach that missing mass is a mortal sin and that if you die in that state you will go to hell? No, that's not Catholic orthodoxy, though popular preaching and catechesis often suppose that it is, even as neither accepts the full consequences.

Date posted: 2017-01-17

The Death of Innocence

The common perception, especially among intellectuals, is that contemporary experience has brought about a collective loss of faith because faith is an ignorance that is cast out by a fuller experience. To believe in God is to be naive, however sincere.

Date posted: 2017-01-07

Carrying Our Cross

Among Jesus' many teachings we find this, rather harsh-sounding, invitation: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Date posted: 2017-01-07

To Wash Each Other's Feet

We wear more than physical clothing to cover our naked selves.

Date posted: 2017-01-07

Praying So As To See God's Glory Inside of Humanity

Familiarity breeds contempt. It also blocks the mystery of Christmas by breeding a view of the life that cannot see divinity within humanity.

Date posted: 2017-01-07