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The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness + The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality + The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God
Price for all three: $39.95

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Image; Reprint edition (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385511159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385511155
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this re-issue of a book first published more than two decades ago, Rolheiser, a Catholic priest and author, looks at the deep longing every person experiences and often names as loneliness. He examines its nature and inherent dangers at some length, but also shows how loneliness can bring great benefits, as it often does in the lives of artists. Loneliness, he writes, presents both potential peril and tremendous opportunity for growth, giving birth to the latter when "understood and channeled creatively." Rolheiser develops his ideas by showing how the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and various theologians from Augustine to Karl Rahner have dealt with this basic human problem. He also draws on writers as diverse as the mystic John of the Cross, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and novelist John Updike. Kierkegaard, he says, was able to mine beauty from his loneliness by seeing it as a "vocation" and himself as someone who could form his pain into "beautiful music—music that could bring healing to those who hear it." Rolheiser goes on to propose a "spirituality of loneliness" rooted in prayer and "the community of life." Readers who have delved into spiritual classics and the works of contemporary religious writers for answers to this basic human question will be attracted to this book, which eschews spiritual fluff. Rolheiser is not given to romantic illusions or easy answers, but serves as an informed guide who is familiar with the challenging territory about which he writes.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Advance Praise for The Restless Heart

“Ronald Rolheiser examines the pain of loneliness and the meaning of our longing with compassionate precision. The book is not simply an exercise in personal spirituality but comes at a time when great social and political harm is done because many of us cannot
endure and enjoy who we are in our loneliness. A much needed antidote to the uneasiness of the times.” —Alan Jones, dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, and author of Living the Truth and Seasons of Grace.

“Ronald Rolheiser has emerged as one of the finest spiritual writers of our time. In this new edition of his earliest work he tills the soil where the holy longing is cultivated, nurtured, and sustained: the lonely human heart. He holds the key to help loosen the suffocating grip of loneliness so that our deepmost desires flourish and find rest in God.”
—Michael Downey, Cardinal’s Theologian, Archdiocese of Los Angeles



Praise for The Holy Longing

“Rolheiser’s program for Christian spirituality is reminiscent of the best work of Henri Nouwen and Daniel Berrigan.” —Publishers Weekly

“A master weaver is at work here . . . I found my soul on every page. At last we have a guide who helps us know what to do with the fire of desire within us. At last a comprehensive, lifegiving approach to sexuality. At last a dynamic understanding of how the paschal mystery plays in our own lives. At last a way to weave love for the poor and struggling people with the highest mystical love of God—I love this book.” —Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Very helpful insights.
Kathleen M.
I'm in the process of reading through this book a second time already.
Jeffrey Borden
The book gives a whole new view of what loneliness really is.
marguerite lamberjack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Carna Zacharias on August 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I got this book in the library, but I am going to buy it, because I liked it so much. So what, if it is a reprint. Books get reprinted for a reason. Exploring the universal condition loneliness, it goes way beyond this fashonable self-help stuff (join a social club, become a volunteer). It cuts through to the very heart of the matter. We are lonely, because we are alienated and seperated from our true nature: We are spiritual beings, we are Soul, we are a spark of God. And as long as we don't recognize our true nature, no amount of entertainment or volunteering will ease our pain. This is, what the book is about, and I could not agree more.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Emily D. Agunod VINE VOICE on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
We've all heard that there are two sides of everything. In this book, Fr. Rolheiser shows the reader that loneliness can be crippling but channeled correctly can be a creative force in one's life. I like the way he starts with defining what loneliness is, then moves on to the different causes of loneliness and the kinds of loneliness. He doesn't present a treatise on how to cure loneliness but more of a gentle leading that makes the reader understand that as human beings separated momentarily from our Creator, we will always have a touch of loneliness to be back in our forever home.

This book also offers insight on how loneliness affects even our most basic relationships like loneliness can cause overpossesiveness that drives people away instead of closer or being too eager to please can make people uncomfortable.

In the end, Fr. Rolheiser concludes that we are destined to feel some loneliness because of our separation from God but that same loneliness is the driving force that makes us reach out for Him and others.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Andrew North on March 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Hard to put into words the insights of this book. I have had answers to questions I have had for years about loneliness and isolation that as a christian is part of the walk. All I can say is read the book. No formulas here(ie pray more, read bible more, etc) but really helpful insights.

Cannot reccomend this book enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sheila on February 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 2004, the year this book was reissued, I was engulfed by loneliness after a deep betrayal by a friend and by my spiritual community. In the time since, I have been driven to not only understand that personal trial, but also to contemplate human loneliness--its causes and its purposes in our lives. This book is the most helpful I have come across regarding this subject.

Rolheiser offers a well-thought out and deep examination of loneliness, beginning with its dangers-- chief among them, its being a roadblock to human intimacy. He then describes the various types of loneliness--alienation,restlessness,fantasy,rootlessness,and psychological depression.

Writing from a Christian perspective, he goes over Old and New Testament reasons for loneliness,including sin, and being a pilgrim on earth. He then writes about 4 great Christian theologians' thoughts on the subject--Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John of the Cross, and Karl Rahner. I personally loved this section-- to know that others over the past 2 millenia have wrestled with the same issues I do today was immensely comforting to me, and I was encouraged by their perspectives.

He concludes with a discussion of the hidden benefits of loneliness and ways to minimize it in our lives.

A key insight for me is that loneliness will never be fully overcome in this life--we are created for complete union with God, and since that is impossible here on earth, we will inevitably experience loneliness at times.

The only fault I can find with the book is that it does not go into the psychological reasons for loneliness,such as childhood trauma or difficulties with attachment to others. Rolheiser is a theologian, not a therapist, so perhaps he felt that area was beyond the scope of his expertise. Still, I think including a brief summation of that topic would have been helpful.

Engaging,well-organized,compassionate--this book is as timely today as when it was first published.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Borden VINE VOICE on November 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm in the process of reading through this book a second time already. I read it for the first time a few months ago while spending a month in a School for Spiritual Direction at a monastery in New Mexico. The Restless Heart wasn't part of my required reading, but something I picked up while there. It would be an understatement to say I'm glad I found it, because this book is still bringing new insights and understanding to me even five months after having first read it.

The complexities of the human condition are such that it is so very difficult to discuss the issues of loneliness and restlessness of the soul without diving into clinical descriptions and categories. Before long, the discussion begins to get weighted down to the point it is difficult to follow...at least this is true for me. The problem with this situation is that almost every human soul is afflicted with issues of loneliness and each of us strives to deal with it in some way. Trying to understand the nature of our affliction and how to meet it or overcome it becomes one of the major questions in life.

I found the writing of Ronald Rolheiser very amenable to my knowledge, experience, and ability to understand the nature of my own struggles with loneliness. Over and over as he explained the nature and condition of the restless and lonely soul, I was able to connect with the illustrations and stories as my own. I think, perhaps for the first time, the proverbial "light bulb" came on and I started to realize the nature of loneliness and how pervasive it is in every soul. Not only was I able to get a glimpse into the deep longing of my own soul, I was able to understand and empathize with the struggles others face and the subsequent consequences of their struggles.
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