Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Fr. Ron Rolheiser

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.

In a masterful book on grace, Piet Fransen suggests that we can test how well we understand grace by gauging our reaction to this story:

“I have come to set the Earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing... Do you think that I have come to establish peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.”

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.

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.

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?

“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.”

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.

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 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.

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?