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Father Rolheiser

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Coming Full Circle: From Storybooks To Spirituality

My first love was literature: novels and poetry. As a child, I loved storybooks, mysteries and adventures. In grade school, I was made to memorize poetry and loved the exercise. High school introduced me to more serious literature — Shakespeare, Kipling, Keats, Wordsworth, Browning. On the side,...

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Despair As Weakness Rather Than Sin

Classically, both in the world and in our churches, we have seen despair as the ultimate, unforgivable sin. The simple notion was that neither God, nor anyone else, can save you if you simply give up, despair or make yourself impossible to reach. Most often in the popular mind this was applied to...

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An Extraordinary Book

Dorothy Day is alleged to have said: Don’t call me a saint; I don’t want to be dismissed that easily! A new biography by her granddaughter Kate Hennessy, “Dorothy Day – The World Will be Saved by Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother,” will, I believe, go a long way in preventing anyone...

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Becoming A Holy Beggar

With the exception of Scripture and a few Christian mystics, Christian spirituality, up to now, has been weak in presenting us with a vision for our retirement years. It’s not a mystery as to why. Until recently, the majority of people died shortly after retirement and so there was no need for a...

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Five-Hundred Years Of Misunderstanding

The heart has its reasons, says Pascal, and sometimes those reasons have a long history. Recently, I signed a card for a friend, a devout Baptist, who was raised to have a suspicion of Roman Catholics. It’s something he still struggles with, but don’t we all! History eventually infects our...

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Good Friday

Good Friday was bad long before it was good, at least from outward appearances. God was being crucified by all that can go bad in the world: pride, jealousy, distrust, wound, self-interest, sin. It’s no accident the Gospels tell us that, as Jesus was dying, it grew dark in the middle of the day....

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Since 1895, The Tidings has been telling the story of the Catholic Church — both here in Los Angeles and across the globe. On July 1, 2016, we transformed the Tidings newspaper into a multimedia platform, Angelus News.

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Doing Violence In God’s Name

Blaise Pascal once wrote: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” How true! This has been going on since the beginning of time and is not showing few signs of disappearing any time soon. We still do violence and evil and justify them in...

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Our Shadow And Our Self-Understanding

What is meant when certain schools of psychology today warn us about our “shadow”? What’s our shadow? In essence, it’s this: We have within us powerful, fiery energies that, for multiple reasons, we cannot consciously face and so we handle them by denial and repression so as to not have to...

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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 can be ultimately claimed as our own. Genuine moral and religious sensitivity should make us aware of that. Nothing comes to us by right. This...

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The Flavor Of God’s Energy

All things considered, I believe that I grew up with a relatively healthy concept of God. The God of my youth, the God that I was catechized into, was not unduly punishing, arbitrary or judgmental. He was omnipresent, so that all of our sins were noticed and noted, but, at the end of the day, he...

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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 good about ourselves. Virtue is indeed its own reward, and that’s good. However, feeling righteous can soon enough turn into feeling self-righteous....

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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 on what it means for us as Christians. What does it mean? In essence, that our relationships with each other are too charged with competition and...

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Welcoming The Stranger

In the Hebrew Scriptures, that part of the Bible we call the Old Testament, we find a strong religious challenge to always welcome the stranger, the foreigner. This was emphasized for two reasons: First, because the Jewish people themselves had once been foreigners and immigrants. Their...

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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 of the prodigal son, angry and jealous at God’s overgenerous mercy, bitter because persons who wander and stray can so easily access the heavenly...

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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 end of time not to exercise any immediate right of a master over a servant or a king over a subject. We can do what we want. He will defend himself only...