Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.
He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide.
Fr. Rolheiser can be reached at his website, www.ronrolheiser.com
Before the airline hijackings of Sept. 11, 2001, before the shoe-bomber and others like him, it was simpler to travel by air. You didn’t need to take off your shoes to pass through security, you could carry liquids with you, laptops and other electronic devices, if you had any, did not have to be brought out of your carry-on bags. The door to the cockpit wasn’t barricaded with steel, and there was much less paranoia in general about security. You even got to see the pilot occasionally.
Jesus, it seems, had mixed feelings towards the world. He loved the world, laid down His life for it and challenged us to love the world, even as He criticized it harshly and stated clearly that it was opposed to Him.
It’s hard to say something consoling in the face of death, even when the person who died lived a full life and died in the best of circumstances. It’s especially hard when the one who’s died is a young person, still in need of nurturing and care in this life, and when that young person dies in less-than-ideal circumstances.
Nature, desire and soul, we rarely integrate these well. Yet they are so inextricably linked that how we relate to one deeply colours the others; and, indeed, spirituality itself might be defined as what we each do in terms of integrating these three in our lives.
When I was a student in the seminary, I had two kinds of teachers: One kind, precisely because they were fiercely loyal to all that is Christian and Catholic, would have us read great secular thinkers but always with the intent of wanting to help show where these thinkers were wrong. Our intellectual task as Catholic seminarians, they would tell us, is to be able to defend Catholicism against the kinds of criticisms found in the writings of these secular, sometimes anti-Christian thinkers and to keep our own faith and teaching free of their influence.
After Mother Teresa died, her diaries revealed something that shocked many people. During the last 60 years of her life she struggled to imagine that God existed and had no affective experience of either the person or the existence of God. Yet, during all those years, everything in her life incarnated and radiated an exceptional, one-in-a-hundred-million selflessness, altruism and faith commitment.
Some day you will have to face your Maker! We’ve all heard that phrase. The hour will come when we will stand alone before God with no place to hide, no room to rationalize and no excuses to offer for our weaknesses and sin. We will stand in a searing light, naked and exposed, and all we ever did, good and bad, will stand with us in that light. That prospect, however vaguely felt, makes for a dark corner in every person’s mind.
VATICAN CITY - As the restructuring of Vatican financial institutions moves into…Read more...