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“There is within us a fundamental dis-ease, an unquenchable fire that renders us incapable, in this life, of ever coming to full peace. This desire lies at the center of our lives, in the marrow of our bones, and in the deep recesses of the soul. At the heart of all great literature, poetry, art, philosophy, psychology, and religion lies the naming and analyzing of this desire. Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality . . . Augustine says: ‘You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.’ Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest.”
Ronald Rolheiser
“True restfulness, though, is a form of awareness, a way of being in life. It is living ordinary life with a sense of ease, gratitude, appreciation, peace and prayer. We are restful when ordinary life is enough.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God
“Defined simply, narcissism means excessive self-preoccupation; pragmatism means excessive focus on work, achievement, and the practical concerns of life; and restlessness means an excessive greed for experience, an overeating, not in terms of food but in terms of trying to drink in too much of life...And constancy of all three together account for the fact that we are so habitually self-absorbed by heartaches, headaches, and greed for experience that we rarely find the time and space to be in touch with the deeper movements inside of and around us.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“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.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“The Church is always God hung between two thieves. Thus, no one should be surprised or shocked at how badly the church has betrayed the gospel and how much it continues to do so today. It had never done very well. Conversely, however, nobody should deny the good the church has done either. It has carried grace, produced saints, morally challenged the planet, and made, however imperfectly, a house for God to dwell in on this earth.

To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child molesters, murderers, adulterers, and hypocrites of every description. It also, at the same time, identifies you with the saints and the finest persons of heroic soul within every time, country, race, and gender. To be a member of the church is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul...because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves.”
Ronald Rolheiser
“The resurrection tells us it is never too late. Every so often we will be surprised. We must believe that the stone will be rolled back, and we must be ready to poke out our timid heads, take off the linen bindings of death, and walk free for a time, breathing resurrection air.”
Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing
“The quality of your faith will be judged by the quality of justice in the land; and the quality of justice in the land will be judged by how the weakest and most vulnerable groups in society (‘widows, orphans, and strangers’) fared while you were alive.”
Ronald Rolheiser, Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity
“It is no easy task to walk this earth and find peace.”
Ronald Rolheiser
tags: peace
“In this life, all symphonies remain unfinished. Our deep longings are never really satisfied. What this means, among other things, is that we are not restful creatures who sometimes get restless, fulfilled people who sometimes are dissatisfied, serene people who sometimes experience disquiet. Rather, we are restless people who occasionally find rest, dissatisfied people who occasionally find fulfillment, and disquieted people who occasionally find serenity. We do not naturally default into rest, satisfaction, and quiet but into their opposite.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Certain vocations, e.g., raising children, offer a perfect setting for living a contemplative life. They provide a desert for reflection, a real monastery. The mother who stays home with small children experiences a very real withdrawal from the world. Her existence is certainly monastic. Her tasks and preoccupations remove her from the centres of social life and from the centres of important power. She feels removed. Moreover, her constant contact with young children, the mildest of the mild, gives her a privileged opportunity to be in harmony with the mild and learn empathy and unselfishness. Perhaps more so even than the monk or the minister of the Gospel, she is forced, almost against her will, to mature. For years, while she is raising small children, her time is not her own, her own needs have to be put into second place, and every time she turns around some hand is reaching out demanding something.”
Ronald Rolheiser
“Charity is appeased when some rich person gives money to the poor while justice asks why one person can be that rich when so many are poor.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Ultimately abortion takes place because there is something wrong within the culture, within the system, and not simply because this or that particular woman is seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Every choice is a renunciation. Indeed. Every choice is a thousand renunciations. To choose one thing is to turn one's back on many others.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Evolution works through this principle: the survival of the fittest. One of the essential elements of Christian discipleship demands that we work for this principle: the survival of the weakest and the gentlest.”
Ronald Rolheiser, Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity
“In Western culture, the joyous shouting of children often irritates us because it interferes with our depression. That is why we have invented a term, hyperactivity, so that we can, in good conscience, sedate the spontaneous joy in many of our children.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Write a book,” he told me, “that I can give to my adult children to explain why I still believe in God and why I still go to church—and that I can read on days when I am no longer sure why I believe or go to church.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Anyone who deeply and honestly shares with us the struggles of her heart, her pains and fears, helps to make us more free. This is so because her story is really, in some way, our story. It is everyone’s story.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness
“Social justice has to do with issues such as poverty, inequality, war, racism, sexism, abortion, and lack of concern for ecology because what lies at the root at each of these is not so much someone's private sin but rather a huge, blind system that is inherently unfair.”
Ronald Rolheiser
“Gratitude is the root of all virtue”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God
“You must try to pray so that, in your prayer, you open yourself in such a way that sometime—perhaps not today, but sometime—you are able to hear God say to you, “I love you!” These words, addressed to you by God, are the most important words you will ever hear because, before you hear them, nothing is ever completely right with you, but after you hear them, something will be right in your life at a very deep level.”
Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing
“Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Near the end of our lives, many of us struggle to move beyond the death of our dreams, beyond how we have been wounded and cheated, and beyond all the resentments that come with aging.”
Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing
“Spirituality is more about whether or not we can sleep at night than about whether or not we go to church. It is about being integrated or falling apart, about being within community or being lonely, about being in harmony with Mother Earth or being alienated from her.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“Karl Rahner, a twentieth-century admirer of Augustine, once said that “in the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we come to realize that, in this life, all symphonies must remain unfinished.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness
“Spirituality is more about whether or not we can sleep at night than about whether or not we go to church. It is about being integrated or falling apart, about being within community or being lonely, about being in harmony with Mother Earth or being alienated from her. Irrespective of whether or not we let ourselves be consciously shaped by any explicit religious idea, we act in ways that leave us either healthy or unhealthy, loving or bitter. What shapes our actions is our spirituality. And what shapes our actions is basically what shapes our desire. Desire makes us act and when we act what we do will either lead to a greater integration or disintegration within our personalities, minds, and bodies—and to the strengthening or deterioration of our relationship to God, others, and the cosmic world. The habits and disciplines5 we use to shape our desire form the basis for a spirituality, regardless of whether these have an explicit religious dimension to them or even whether they are consciously expressed at all. Spirituality concerns what we do with desire. It takes its root in the eros inside of us and it is all about how we shape and discipline that eros. John of the Cross, the great Spanish mystic, begins his famous treatment of the soul’s journey with the words: “One dark night, fired by love’s urgent longings.”6 For him, it is urgent longings, eros, that are the starting point of the spiritual life and, in his view, spirituality, essentially defined, is how we handle that eros.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“If a child or a brother or a sister or a loved one of yours strays from the church in terms of faith practice and morality, as long as you continue to love that person, and hold him or her in union and forgiveness, he or she is touching the hem of the garment, is held to the Body of Christ, and is forgiven by God, irrespective of his or her official external relationship to the church and Christian morality. Your touch is Christ’s touch. When you love someone, unless that someone actively rejects your love and forgiveness, she or he is sustained in salvation. And this is true even beyond death. If someone close to you dies in a state which, externally at least, has her or him at odds ecclesially and morally with the visible church, your love and forgiveness will continue to bind that person to the Body of Christ and continue to forgive that individual, even after death. One”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
“But within ourselves we can experience a real difference between restlessness and solitude. What is that difference? It is the difference between living in freedom rather than compulsion; restfulness rather than restlessness; patience rather than impatience; inwardness rather than frenzied outwardness; altruism rather than greediness; authentic friendship rather than possessive clinging; and empathy rather than apathy.3”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness
“All of us experience, to a greater or lesser extent, a loneliness that results from not having enough anchors, enough absolutes, and enough permanent roots to make us feel secure and stable in a world characterized by transience.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness
“The canyons of our minds and hearts are so deep and so full of mystery that we try at all costs to avoid entering them deeply. We avoid journeying inward because we are too frightened: frightened because we must make that journey alone; frightened because we know it will involve solitude and perseverance; and frightened because we are entering the unknown. Aloneness, suffering, perseverance, the unknown: All these frighten us. Our own depths frighten us! And so we stall, distract ourselves, drug the pain, party and travel, stay busy, try this and that, cling to people and moments, junk up the surface of our lives, and find any and every excuse to avoid being alone and having to face ourselves. We are too frightened to travel inward. But we pay a price for that, a high one: superficiality and shallowness. So long as we avoid the painful journey inward, to the depth of our caverns, we live at the surface.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness
“Alienation results because human beings speak the same language only when they appear to each other as they really are, vulnerable, without impressively constructed towers. Vulnerability is that space within which human beings can truly meet each other and speak the same language. Sin and pride serve to destroy this space and drive us away from each other, leaving us to babble in our own language as we scatter to our respective corners of the earth.”
Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness

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