Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.

He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide.

Fr. Rolheiser can be reached at his website, www.ronrolheiser.com.

Daniel Berrigan, in one of his famous quips, once wrote: Before you get serious about Jesus, first consider carefully how good you are going to look on wood!

The spirituality writer Tom Stella tells a story about three monks at prayer in their monastery chapel. The first monk imagines himself being carried up to Heaven by the angels. The second monk imagines himself already in Heaven, chanting God’s praises with the angels and saints. The third monk cannot focus on any holy thoughts but can only think about the great hamburger he had eaten just before coming to chapel. That night, when the devil was filing his report for the day, he wrote: “Today I tried to tempt three monks, but I only succeeded with two of them.”

A seminarian I know recently went to a party at a local university campus. The group was a crowd of young, college students and when he was introduced as a seminarian, as someone who was trying to become a priest and who had taken a vow of celibacy, the mention of celibacy evoked some giggles in the room, some banter and a number of jokes about how much he must be missing out on in life. Poor, naïve fellow! 

A common soldier dies without fear, yet Jesus died afraid. 

Among the Ten Commandments, one begins with the word “remember”: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” There are commandments of mercy written into our very DNA. We know them, but need to remember them more explicitly. What are they?

What we cease to celebrate we will soon cease to cherish. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the religious congregation to which I belong, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. We have a proud history, 200 years now, of ministering to the poor around the world. This merits celebrating.  

In a recent article in America magazine, Grant Kaplan, commenting on the challenge of the Resurrection, makes this comment: “Unlike previous communities in which the bond among members forges itself through those it excludes and scapegoats, the gratuity of the Resurrection allows for a community shaped by forgiven-forgivers.”

Before you get serious about Jesus, first consider how good you’re going to look on wood! Daniel Berrigan wrote those words and they express a lot about who he was and what he believed in. He died April 30 at age 94.

The stone which rolled away from the tomb of Jesus continues to roll away from every sort of grave. Goodness cannot be held, captured or put to death. It evades its pursuers, escapes capture, slips away, hides out, even leaves the churches sometimes, but forever rises, again and again, all over the world. Such is the meaning of the Resurrection.

The famed Jungian writer Robert Johnson makes this observation about falling in love: “To fall in love is to project the most noble and infinitely valuable part of one’s being onto another human being... We have to say that the divinity we see in others is truly there, but we don’t have a right to see it until we have taken away our own projections... Making this fine distinction is the most delicate and difficult task in life.”