THE RESTLESS HEART: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness

Ronald Rolheiser, Author . Doubleday $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-51114-8

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. (June)

Forecast: Rolheiser's book The Holy Longing has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-86716-650-7
Paperback - 193 pages - 978-0-385-51115-5
Open Ebook - 108 pages - 978-0-307-42409-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-86716-649-1
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