In Exile

Thumbnail shutterstock 288185786 Acedia and Sabbath

Early Christian monks believed in something they called “acedia.” More colloquially, they called it the “noonday devil,” a name that essentially...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 425350552 A happy death

In the Roman Catholic culture within which I grew up, we were taught to pray for a happy death. For many Catholics at the time, this was a standard...

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Thumbnail prodigal son 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...

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Thumbnail ron rolheiser in exile Forever being ahead of our souls

Sometimes nothing is as helpful as a good metaphor.In his book “The God Instinct” Tom Stella shares this story: A number of men who made their...

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Thumbnail rolheiser in exile God’s inexhaustibility

Many of us, I am sure, have been inspired by the movie “Of Gods and Men,” which tells the story of a group of Trappist monks who, after making a...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 38891632 God’s power as powerlessness

The French novelist and essayist Leon Bloy once made this comment about God’s power in our world: “God seems to have condemned himself until the...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 483074236 Guidelines for the long haul --- revisited

Twenty-five years ago, I wrote a column entitled, “Guidelines for the Long Haul.” Revisiting it recently, I was encouraged that my principles...

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Thumbnail 20141118cnsto0012 How the soul matures

In a deeply insightful book, “The Grace of Dying,” Kathleen Dowling Singh shares insights she has gleaned as a health professional from being...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 158352050 Love: A projection and a reality

The famed Jungian writer Robert Johnson makes this observation about falling in love: “To fall in love is to project the most noble and infinitely...

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Thumbnail tears Mourning our barrenness

Several years ago, while teaching a summer course at Seattle University, I had as one of my students a woman who, while happily married, was unable...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 339775121 My favorite books of 2016

So much of life, particularly today, constitutes an unconscious conspiracy against reading. Lack of time, the pressure of our jobs and electronic...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 262372256 Nothing is ever really ours

Everything is gift. That’s a principle that ultimately undergirds all spirituality, all morality and every commandment. Everything is gift. Nothing...

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Thumbnail guns Of guns and pacifism

The Gospels tell us that after King Herod died, an angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, telling him: “Get up! Take the child and his...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 319478597 Of virtue and sin

There’s an axiom which says: Nothing feels better than virtue. There’s a deep truth here, but it has an underside. When we do good things we feel...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 484644328 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...

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Thumbnail bowed head On bowing and raising our heads

At the end of every Roman Catholic liturgy, there is an invitation given to the people to receive a blessing. That invitation is worded this way:...

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Thumbnail father rolheiser Only in silence

The Belgian spiritual writer, Bieke Vandekerckhove, comes by her wisdom honestly. She didn’t learn what she shares from a book or even primarily...

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Thumbnail shutterstock 321921797 On not cultivating restlessness

Thirty-four years ago, when I launched this column, I never would have said this: Restlessness is not something to be cultivated, no matter how...

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