The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  779 ratings  ·  89 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.
This book is f...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 20th 1999 by Doubleday Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Holy Longing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Holy Longing

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A.  MilneA Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. PalmerI Asked For Wonder by Abraham Joshua HeschelJesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. BaileyCare of the Soul by Thomas  Moore
The Happy List
27th out of 103 books — 7 voters
Stumbling Toward Faith by Renee N. AltsonJ.R.R. Tolkien by Tom ShippeyJames and the Giant Peach by Roald DahlAgainst the Death Penalty by Gardner C. HanksAll My Road Before Me by C.S. Lewis
2014 Themed
89th out of 100 books — 2 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,692)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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.)
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...more
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...more
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
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...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....."
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...more
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...more
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...more
Misha Estrada
This book was a little slow and technical for me. It was interesting and informative, though.
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...more
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.
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.
Robyn26 loid
This is a very interesting book. I have enjoyed reading it so far. I recently read a fascinating book on on the universe. It is called, “The Book of Ernest” by Ernest Clement. This a non-fiction book on spirituality and mankind’s place in the universe written from the author’s own experiences over a period of 15 years. He includes some humor and perspectives on American politics. This book has truly been life changing for me.
Perhaps one of the best spiritual books ever written. This book really provides a persuasive argument for the human need for spirituality and a sound foundation for anyone who wants to practice an authentic Christian faith, especially the Catholic faith. It gave me a vocabulary and appreciation for the faith I have been practicing and challenged me to go deeper on several levels. Great and easy read that can transform you very quickly!
Jim Thomas
Jan 01, 2011 Jim Thomas is currently reading it
Recommended to Jim by: My Mother-in-Law
A gift from my Mother-in-Law. Excellent Read - Ever read a book that leaves you speechless. Ron Rolheiser's description of spirituality is doing that to me. From page 22. "The struggles in spirituality that are more unique to our age might be named as follows: Naivete about the nature of spiritual energy, pathological busyness, distraction, and restlessness and a critical problem with balance."
Feb 27, 2012 Carola rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carola by: mom
Shelves: spirituality
This was a gift from my mother, who has read it several times. I hope to always have a copy on hand, and will definitely read it again. Rolheiser makes some of the most convincing arguments I have heard about the importance of worshipping with each other rather than on our own. Wonderful sections reviewing the dangers of a narrow-minded view, and on the relationship between spirituality and sexuality.
Lisa Lewis
This book is a wonderfully clear-headed and -hearted perspective on Christian faith. Intellectually satisfying and at the same time emotionally powerful. Rolheiser is very accessible, bringing some concepts that were hard for me to fully grasp into understandable and sometimes even earthy examples. I consider this a significant step on my journey to deeper religious understanding.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 56 57 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
  • Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today
  • Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith
  • Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel
  • Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life
  • Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict  Second Edition
  • The Cloud of Unknowing: and The Book of Privy Counseling
  • Thoughts in Solitude
  • Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints
  • Becoming Human
  • Death On A Friday Afternoon Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • Waiting for God
The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness Forgotten Among the Lilies: Learning to Love Beyond Our Fears Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist Against an Infinite Horizon: The Finger of God in Our Everyday Lives

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…