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,

We need to give to the poor, not because they need it, though they do, but because we need to do that in order to be healthy. That’s an axiom which is grounded in Scripture where, time and again, we are taught that giving to the poor is something that we need to do for our own health.

An addiction to comfort


Fifty years ago, Kay Cronin wrote a book entitled Cross in the Wilderness, chronicling how, in 1847, a small band of Oblate missionaries came from France to the American Pacific Northwest and, after some bitter setbacks in Washington State and Oregon, moved up the coast into Canada and helped found the Roman Catholic Church in Vancouver and in significant parts of British Columbia’s mainland.

Why faith feels like doubt and darkness


God is ineffable. This is a truth that’s universally accepted as dogma among all Christians and within all the great religions of the world. What does it mean?

Raissa and Jacques Maritain and the New Evangelization


“The Church has sanctified extreme passions, blessed the frenzied, acclaimed the neurosis it had previously canalized and nothing, it seemed, could stop me at its door. Nothing.”

An appreciation of Ordinary Time


In a marvellous little book entitled The Music of Silence, David Steindl-Rast highlights how each hour of the day has its own special light and its own particular mood and how we are more attentive to the present moment when we recognize and honour these “special angels” lurking inside each hour. He’s right. Every hour of the day and every season of the year have something special to give us, but often times we cannot make ourselves present to meet that gift.

Fr. Andrew Greeley gave us hope


As a young seminarian in the late 1960s, I was very taken by the writings of Andrew Greeley, a priest in Chicago, who was churning out books on popular spirituality.

Haste leads to spiritual blindness


Haste is our enemy. It puts us under stress, raises our blood pressure, makes us impatient, renders us more vulnerable to accidents and, most serious of all, blinds us to the needs of others. Haste is normally not a virtue, irrespective of the goodness of whatever it is we are hurrying towards.

In praise of fathers, warts and all


Each year we celebrate Father’s Day, a day on which we’re asked to get in touch with the gratitude we should feel towards our fathers. For some of us this is easy, we had good fathers; but for many it’s difficult. How do you feel gratitude if your father was someone who was mostly absent or abusive?

Our fundamental option


Several years ago, at a conference that I was attending, the keynote speaker challenged his audience in this way: All of us, he pointed out, are members of various communities. We live in families, are part of church congregations, have colleagues with whom we work, have a circle of friends and are part of a larger civic community. In every one of these there will come a time when we will get hurt, when we will not be honoured, when we will be taken for granted and treated unfairly. All of us will get hurt. That is a given. However, and this was his challenge, how we handle that hurt, with either bitterness or forgiveness, will colour the rest of our lives and determine what kind of person we are going to be.

Seeing the two sides of celibacy


Recently an op-ed piece appeared in the New York Times by Frank Bruni, entitled, “The Wages of Celibacy.” The column, while provocative, is fair. Mostly he asks a lot of hard, necessary questions.

Maturity, boldness with God


Some years ago, a woman shared this story at a workshop. She had a six-year-old son whom she had conscientiously schooled in prayer. Among other things, she made him kneel beside his bed every night and say aloud a number of prayers, ending with an invocation to “bless mummy, daddy, grandma and grandpa.” One night, shortly after he had started school, she took him to his room to hear his prayers and to tuck him in for the night. But when it came time for him to kneel by his bedside and recite his prayers, he refused and crawled into bed instead. His mother asked him: “What’s the matter? Don’t you pray any more?” There was remarkable calm in his reply: “No,” he said, “I don’t pray any more. The sister teaching us at school told us that we are not supposed to pray, she said that we are supposed to talk to God ... and tonight I am tired and have nothing to say.”