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The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  918 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Ronald Rolheiser makes sense of what is frequently a misunderstood word: spirituality. In posing the question "What is spirituality?" Father Rolheiser gets quickly to the heart of common difficulties with the subject, and shows through compelling anecdotes and personal examples how to channel that restlessness, that deep desire, into a healthy spirituality.

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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 20th 1999 by Image
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Holly Schippers
Jan 25, 2008 Holly Schippers rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Holly by: Rob Bell
The absolutely best book on Christian spirituality and an integrate faith/life. It has rekindled my desire to connect deeply with the church, with life, with passion, and with God. You MUST read this book, I will send you mind if you want (provided you send it back.)
David Clark
This was a book recommended by a wise and thoughtful friend and it did not disappoint. I have used it for my morning devotionals and both the author's craft and content have been a rich source of delight and stimulation. I awarded this book five stars but a better measure might be the copious margin notes, underlining, and large number of colored reminder tags now peeking out from the text.

Rolheiser writes from a Roman Catholic point of view but is remarkably open handed. This is not to suggest
This book had some great insights. Rolheiser begins by defining Spirituality in very broad terms and showing how everyone - religious or not - HAS a Spiritual side. There is a very interesting part where he compares three women: Mother Teresa, Princess Diana and Janis Joplin, showing how they may seem very different, but it really all comes down to how they dealt with their Spirituality. This part comes at the beginning and really got me into the book.

He then focuses specifically on the componen
Dec 04, 2008 Nicole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in a nonbias book about Christianity
Recommended to Nicole by: Sister Stoner who taught Catholic Vision in college
An intelligently written book about Jesus and Christianity. I like this book because it offers up Christianity in a positive light, not commercialized, no hint of any social conservatism/right of center politics, and most importantly no littering of fundamentalist views. The Holy Longing speaks about spirituality in regards to Christianity instead of 'religion,' which is why I gave this book a change and I'm glad that I did. There is no phony Christian agenda evident, just a book about discoveri ...more
Valuable book. I will need to read again to digest. An easy read but concepts deserve contemplation. One of the few books that actually provides a unique and authentic perspective. Not cliche or tired.
Apr 18, 2011 Megan rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
The author keeps on repeating himself over and over. He is also very confused about his Catholic faith! If you are looking for Catholic spirituality, this is not the book for you!
Gary Cleveland
Finished reading it today.
One gem to share. "Spirituality is about what we do with the fire inside us....."
Maria Elisabeth
When it's good, it's very very good, and when it's bad, it's horrid.

It's mostly good. :)
Brent Soderstrum
I won this book through GoodReads first read program.

Father Rolheiser examines what is Christian spirituality and the internal desire of our soul to have a relationship with God. This is a book that will make you think. Lots of topics become offshoots of the opening discussion of spirituality. Rolheiser tries to cover each of these topics in common man language which makes his ideas easier to comprehend. He uses lots of examples too which helps.

I enjoyed his explanation about what the unforgivea
Faith Farrell
From the first paragraph of the preface to the final quote by Julian of Norwich, The Holy Longing was both tender hearted and intellectually stimulating. There was something to underline on 99% of it's 257 pages, and I crammed the margins with notes.

(That great line from the preface was a quote from Tielhard de Chardin, who said that most sincere people who lack belief in God lack Him because they have never heard about Him in a correct way.)

The Holy Longing compels engaged reading. This book
Paul Dubuc
Though I found a some important things with which to disagree in this book, overall I found it a very compelling and enriching approach to Christian spirituality. Rolheiser's writing is very lucid and wise. He defines spirituality along the lines of things all people experience within themselves. It's "more about whether or not we can sleep at night, than about whether or not we go to church." It's what shapes our actions, what we do with our desire (eros), whether or not we can shape it in a cr ...more
Joy Matteson
Wow. This book. This. BOOK.

I'm struggling with words that can describe the beauty and longing that's held in these pages. Ronald Rohlheiser may have just peered into my soul and put his finger on the pulse and whispered some love-words into it. And then I cried several times while reading it. From one perspective, this is just another book about the search for Christian spirituality from a Roman Catholic spiritual writer. And yet--Rolheiser gets it--he gets that we're all born with this holy lo
I liked a lot of ideas in this book. The author is very realistic about religion and spirituality today, and he equally looks at the blessings and faults of organized religion and the individuals who belong/don't belong to a religion. I really liked when he talked about the need to worship in a community as an essential part of spirituality, and the fact that we need to worship in heterogeneous communities where everyone doesn't feel comfortable and agree, because that's what being the body of C ...more
Jennifer Plummer
This was one I had to read for a religious education class and I was hesitant on picking it up. Once I started it, though, I was pleasantly surprised. With religion, no matter what rules are written, things are so open to interpretation, especially in Catholicism. I found this book insightful. Very few of the author's ideas are ones I'd be willing to argue and the personal stories made the topics relatable.
'...our hearts are restless until they rest in You'. Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest. Rolheiser shows us how to nurture our spiritual growth in practical ways that are at once simple yet profound. His case for being part of a church persuaded and changed me. I rarely keep books once read (very tiny house) but I'll be squeezing this onto my shelves. Will be reading this again for sure.
Sandy Bradley
Jul 29, 2008 Sandy Bradley rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christian readers
Recommended to Sandy by: Seminar attended
The beginnings of the book give good promise as he outlines the core aspects of developing a spiritual life or discipline. If you had one chapter to read, read his chapter on the Nonnegotiable Essentials. He outlines the four pillars of a spiritual life—private prayer and private morality, social justice, mellowness of heart and spirit (I call this a changed heart.), and community. He gives excellent examples of people with 2 or 3 of these elements without the 4th and the reasons for all 4. The ...more
This is one of those books that I kept putting down for no good reason, but once I picked it up again, I couldn't even fathom putting it down again. It's a really great examination of Christian faith, with compassion for all those under the really wide umbrella of faith. His take on Christian Sexuality and critique of both the secular focus on genitality and the Christian fear of sexual expression was great - his idea is that mature sexuality always encompasses more than the act itself and ought ...more
Trish Collins
Fr. Rolheiser's writing style leaves a lot to be desired. The over use of the comma is maddening. Perhaps much of the text is taken from lectures and was never adapted to the page.

The style is often reminiscent of a self-help book; one idea is repeated until you no longer care about his point.

As far as content goes, it is a bit distracting to have a Catholic priest referring to sexuality, eros and genitalia when trying to focus our search for Christianity.

Maybe I missed something here, but it w
Misha Estrada
This book was a little slow and technical for me. It was interesting and informative, though.
Kim Smith
Used as my meditation each morning for last month or so. Loved it and will read again.
A brilliant book which deals with the problems this age brings to developing a Christian spirituality which connects to the world. Rolheiser's connection of contemplation and active involvement in the world inspires the reader to bring meaning to all aspects of their life. The stress on the spirituality of such 'non-contemplative' areas as social justice, ecclesiology and sexual matters is a valuable message these days. This books is where the spiritual rubber hits the road and offers valuable i ...more
April Welch
The BEST description ever of sexuality! As a single person - it has been hard to describe my sexuality to people and this does the best job ever of helping it to remain in terms that are supported by my Christian views - without being prudish!
Really wrestling with the essentials to faith - I feel that Ronald Rolheiser does a great job of describing some important whys. He is obviously Catholic - but gives a fair treatment to Protestants.
Recommend this book HIGHLY!
Starts off rolling - gets a lit
Daniel Stewart
I didn't agree with everything, but I was challenged by almost every word. There's something about the way Rolheiser writes that allows him to discuss deep, profound topics in a coffee table tone. I would encourage anyone to read it, but especially those that have been hurt by, or are cynics of "church".
Margaret D'Anieri
One of the best books on Christian Spirituality and theology that I've read;rigorous and readable. One I'll read again.
I read this book a few years ago, as a part of a women's book discussion in my church community. I found it a bit challenging and difficult. It helped that we met weekly and discussed 1 or 2 chapters each week. I believe there were discussion questions at the end of each chapter to guide discussion. For me, reading the book within the context of a discussion group, greatly enhanced my appreciation for the author's message about spirituality. I rate it 4 stars, because "I got by with a little hel ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Kristin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristin by: my lay ministry program
Shelves: spiritual-growth
A clearly-written general overview of various aspects of a Christian spirituality. Less of a "review" of material that I've already read and heard, than a "new view" of fundamental ideas. Even though the author is Catholic, he keeps his language general enough to include non-Catholic Christians. I especially appreciated the chapter "A Spirituality of Sexuality," as it tends to be hard to find good explanations of this topic. The author provided a balanced, well thought-out explanation of a poten ...more
Chris Santhou
This is one of the best treatments of Christian spirituality that I've read. His four principles of Christian spirituality--private prayer/morality, social justice, mellowness of heart and spirit, community as constituent of true worship--ring true and are extremely helpful. He also offers good takes on various spiritualities within the Christian life--sexuality, paschal mystery, ecclesiology, justice and peacemaking. All in all, a great read. I highly recommend this book.
Wow. One of the best books about Christian spirituality I've read. Encompasses so much in a rather few number of words, but every accessible and thought provoking. I'm returning my library copy and purchasing one to keep so I can keep it handy. Highly recommended for Christians and non-Christians.
Linda Robins
As is frequently the case, this book came to me just at a time when I needed it the most. Father Rolheiser's loving, intelligent writings are the perfect antidote for the "crazy Christians" who seem to be the public face of faith in the US right now. His God is loving, intelligent, and expansive--I will return to this book many times when I need a "tune-up" from cynicism and reassurance that ignorance and intolerance are never a part of following Christ.
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“Becoming like Jesus is as much as about having a relaxed and joyful heart as it is about believing and doing the right thing, as much about proper energy as about proper truth.” 5 likes
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