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The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality Hardcover – July 20, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 1 edition (July 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385494181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385494182
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Long before we do anything explicitly religious at all, we have to do something about the fire that burns within us," writes Ronald Rolheiser. "What we do with that fire, how we channel it, is our spirituality." From the opening chapter, where Rolheiser eloquently compares the burning spiritual fire of Mother Teresa, Janice Joplin, and Princess Diana, readers will be fully engaged in a unique and altogether fascinating discussion of Christian spirituality.

As a regular columnist for the Catholic Herald, Rolheiser has clearly honed his writing skills. Like an eloquent marriage counselor, he deftly tries to reconcile the rift between contemporary spirituality and Christianity. For example, he points to the four pillars that support a healthy marriage of Christianity and spirituality, which are "Private prayer and private morality. Social justice. Mellowness of heart and spirit. Community as a constitutive element of true worship." Building upon these pillars, Rolheiser delves into the more challenging marital tensions with chapters such as "Christ as the Basis for Christian Spirituality" and a "Spirituality of Sexuality." This is an excellent book for any Christian who has longs to create a more holy and lasting spiritual union. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

"Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest... [it] is about what we do with that incurable desire, the madness that comes from the gods, within us." Rolheiser (Restless Heart) contends that the late 20th century is marked by a kind of spiritual restlessness, even though the spiritual landscape is littered with a variety of "spiritualities." He argues that there is richness in such spiritual diversity and plurality, but that many seekers lack direction in their spiritual search. Rolheiser develops a Christian spirituality that he believes offers some definite direction for seekers. At the heart of a healthy Christian spiritual life, he says, there must be four essentials: "private prayer and private morality; social justice; mellowness of heart and spirit; and community as a constitutive element of true worship." At the base of Christian spirituality, he notes, is the Incarnation of God in human flesh. If Christians can focus on the embodied character of their theology, then the four essentials of Christian spirituality become easier to embrace. In the latter half of the book, Rolheiser develops sketches of a spirituality of community (ecclesiology), a spirituality of sexuality and a spirituality of justice and peacemaking. We can sustain ourselves in the spiritual life, he notes, by being a mystic, sinning bravely, gathering ritually around the Word and breaking the bread, and worshipping and serving the right God. Rolheiser's program for Christian spirituality is reminiscent of the best work of Henri Nouwen and Daniel Berrigan. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Very well written.
LenPerry
Have read his articles but this is the first book of his that I have purchased.
Nancy Kofranek
I found this book to be very special and one that can be read over and kept.
Virginia Marie Chnapko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

176 of 184 people found the following review helpful By Jon Wergin on December 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a former Christian and have been on a spiritual journey for some time. I have been looking for a way to redefine my faith, to recommit to at least some of the Christian tenets I rejected years ago. Nothing I read helped me; authors (including C.S. Lewis, among others) all seem to assume that their readers share their faith. But in Rolheiser's book his first line says it all: "This is a book for you if you are struggling spiritually." I was struggling before I read the book, and I still am, but Rolheiser has helped me understand what the struggle is about. This is a book that can be read with benefit by believers and nonbelievers alike.
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the most inspirational--and challenging--book I've read in this or any year. This book is full of practical advice for increasing the spirituality of both the individual and the church. While Rolheiser is a Catholic priest, the issues he discusses are relevant to all Christians. His ideas on the concept of community I found especially thought-provoking with regard both to church and family. They provide useful ways of maintaining the focus on God even in the loud, messy chaos of everyday life and for worshipping with a community of believers, all of which you might not choose to associate with in other circumstances. Rolheiser's chapter on Christian sexuality as energy can be inspirational for both single individuals and those who are married or in other relationships. I would highly recommend this book for individual study or group discussion among thoughtful Christians of all denominations.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rolheiser does an amazing job of taking the reader on a journey of spirituality. He carefully crafted the book to help the reader understand the fundamentals of a solid Christian spirituality. Though clearly written from a Roman Catholic perspective, the writing and insight is so helpful that any Christian would benefit from it. This book will truly help one's reach expand his grasp spiritually.
The man who recommended this to me is brilliant for recognizing it as the best book on Catholic spirituality he had read in the last ten years.
This is the kind of book that starts great discussion groups and leads them to the formation of a community.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is easily one of the best pieces of writing about Christianity that I've seen come down the pike in a long time. A sharp and engaging reflection on Christian spirituality which steers clear of both the vague, New Agey blather and humorless Evangelicalism filling Christianity sections of bookstores these days. Rolheiser is a Catholic priest, but the book is written with a wide audience in mind, and should be quite appealing to people who, like myself, come from another Christian tradition. The fact that I took issue with some of Rolheiser's arguments only increased my admiration for the book since it simply encouraged more reflection and never caused me to stop reading on. I heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for thoughtful guidance on what living an authentic Christian spirituality actually involves.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It is difficult to put into words how wonderful this book is. I finished it today, and plan on turning back to page one to read it over again. Ronald Rolheiser put into words and concepts issues of spirituality and Christianity that deepened my understanding of where I am and where I need to be. His chapters on incarnation were very powerful; and, his last chapter, "Sustaining Ourselves in the Spiritual Life" gave a good (and empathetic) grounding on how to make these ideas relevant each day.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Everyone has to have a spirituality - either a life-giving one or a destructive one."

So begins Author Ronald Rolheiser's examination of Christian Spirituality in what has become his classic work, "The Holy Longing." Rolheiser writes with uncommon clarity in providing a foundation for Christian Spirituality and in stimulating us to rethink spirituality and our own spiritual journey. Rolheiser shows us that it is not enough to be "spiritual but not religious." The book will either be a reawakening or a disappointment to those who describe themselves this way.

Spirituality, Rolheiser points out, is about what we do with our souls and is subject of concern for all of us. "Spirituality 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. Spirituality shapes our actions, and in turn, our desire. Desire makes us act and when we act what we do will either lead to greater integration or disintegration within our personalities, minds, bodies...and to a strengthening or deterioration of our relationship to God, others, or the cosmic world."

Our age constitutes a virtual conspiracy against the interior life - narcissism, pragmatism, and unbridled restlessness. And today's secular society looks on Christian Spirituality with suspicion so in its place we now have cults of physical health, new gods (celebrities, star athletes) and new shrines (stadiums, pageants, reality TV). So, how are we to satisfy our fundamental dis-ease, that holy longing - that unquenchable fire that renders us incapable, in this life, of ever coming to full peace?

Rolheiser points the way.
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