Top critical review
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At times a 5 at times a 1
on July 21, 2002
Fr. Rolheiser explains at the beginning of this book that he is anot about to answer profound questions, but in a simple manner describe spirituality from a Christian point of view. This is he does. Along the way he does raise profound issues, causing both argument and agreement. But at all times opportunities for reflection.
His chapter on eccclesiology expresses the traditional Roman Catholic perspective that one ought to attend Mass on Sundays. He does not let off on anything personal: prayer, morality, or even relationship to God. But his reasoning and allegories cause one to reflect if staying away from Sunday Mass is really in one's best interest. Catholics used to be told that they had to do certain things because the hierarchy in the Church knew better. Rolheiser does not write in this manner. His arguments are simple and based in human experience.
The chapter on sexuality reaches grandiose debate at times. One can sense his overreaching, especially when he tries to describe what sexuality is by numerous examples, such as a young man just having a drowning person. He is trying to demonstrate how sexuality is an integrated part of ourselves, apart from genital sexuality, which is sexual intercourse. He may actually reach vulnerable places for some readers, not this one.
He writes of the meaning of incarnation in one's life. Prayer, in this regard, he writes, is made through Christ. In other words, one cannot pray for something if one is not already involved in bringing it about. He speaks of prayer as shared existence with others, thus he argues prayer cannot remain only private.
The Paschal Mystery involves death, resurrection, a Forty Day grieving period, an ascension of letting go and a pentecost to be filled with the Spirit or the renewal of life. Rolheiser demonstrates how this works in our natural lives. This is the strongest chapter of the book as it is the most applicable.
At times this book is infuriating, as Rolheiszer likes to write: if this is true, and it is. . . . At other times this book challenges one to reflect on how one is living and if perhaps changes might make one happier and closer to God.