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Father Rolheiser

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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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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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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...

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Acedia And Sabbath

Early Christian monks believed in something they called “acedia.” More colloquially, they called it the “noonday devil,” a name that essentially describes the concept. Acedia, for them, was different from ordinary depression in that it didn’t draw you into the dark, chaotic areas of your mind and...

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Taking Our Wounds To The Eucharist

Recently a man came to me, asking for help. He carried some deep wounds, not physical wounds, but emotional wounds to his soul. What surprised me initially was that, while he was deeply wounded, he had not been severely traumatized either in childhood or adulthood. He seemed to have absorbed the...

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Orthodoxy, Sin And Heresy

Recently, while on the road giving a workshop, I took the opportunity to go the cathedral in that city for a Sunday Eucharist. I was taken aback by the homily. The priest used the Gospel text where Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches,” to tell the congregation that what Jesus is...

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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 technology, among other things, are more and more putting books out of reach and out of mind. There is never enough time to read. The upside of this...

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Our Churches As Sanctuaries

Whenever we have been at our best as Christians, we have opened our churches as sanctuaries to the poor and the endangered. We have a long, proud history wherein refugees, homeless persons, immigrants facing deportation and others who are endangered take shelter inside our churches. If we believe...

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The Martyrdom Of Inadequate Self-Expression

Art, too, has its martyrs and perhaps our greatest pain is that of inadequate self-expression. That’s an insight from Iris Murdoch and it holds true, I believe, for most everyone. Inside of each of us there’s a great symphony, a great novel, a great dance, a great poem, a great painting, a...

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The End Of The World

People are forever predicting the end of the world. In Christian circles this is generally connected with speculation around the promise Jesus made at his ascension, namely, that he would be coming back, and soon, to bring history to its culmination and establish God’s eternal kingdom. There have...

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The Dangers In Being A Warrior Prophet

A prophet makes a vow of love, not of alienation. Daniel Berrigan wrote those words and they need to be highlighted today when a lot of very sincere, committed, religious people self-define as cultural warriors, as prophets at war with secular culture. This is the stance of many seminarians,...