Book Notes: Ronald Rolheiser's "Wrestling with God"

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Wrestling with God, Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I.’s newest book, is spiritual reading for people who struggle with finding a solid footing in faith in a world where the only constant seems to be change.

Rolheiser acknowledges in this book that we do not walk an easy road. The verb in the title, “wrestling,” underlines the struggles we face as we battle against our human nature in order to understand ourselves and to place ourselves in relationship with God.

The author identifies seven areas of struggle:

  • self-understanding within a complex nature
  • erotic energies
  • fear
  • the Gospel mandate to reach out to the poor
  • faith and doubt
  • God
  • faith within a complex culture

All of these, of course, are interconnected; the final chapter, “Some Guidelines for the Long Haul” is comforting and encouraging after all the talk of struggle that precedes it.

… we can learn to forgive life a little more for its frustrations and we can learn to give ourselves permission to be more patient with our lives and with ourselves. Who of us does not lament that the pressures and frustrations of life keep us from fully enjoying life’s pleasures, from smelling the flowers, from being more present to family, from celebrating with friends, from peaceful solitude, and from deeper prayer? So we are forever making resolutions to slow down, to find a quiet space inside our pressured lives in which to pray. But, after failing over and over again, we eventually despair of finding a quiet, contemplative space for prayer in our lives. Although we need to continue to search for that, we can already live with the consolation that, deep down, our very frustration in not being able to find that quiet space is already a prayer. In the groans of our inadequacy the spirit is already praying through our bodies and souls in a way deeper than words. (187-88)

Chapters in this book are subdivided, which makes it easy to take your time as you read the book; it’s definitely one that lends itself to journaling as you go.

As with his popular The Holy Longing, Rolheiser writes a book that is meant to be savored. Take Wrestling with God to Adoration or your favorite prayer spot, and allow Rolheiser to encourage you in openness to the mystery behind our faith.

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Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
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About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at CatholicMom.com. Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.

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