The author of The Holy Longing explores the debilitating obsessions that often dominate our lives and offers down-to-earth guidance for learning to leave our fears, anxieties, and guilt “forgotten among the lilies.”
“Rarely do we taste the food we eat or the coffee we drink. Instead we go through our days too preoccupied, too compulsive, and too dissatisfied to really be able to be present for and celebrate our own lives,” Ronald Rolheiser writes in the introduction to this powerful collection of essays.
Forgotten Among the Lilies shows that there is a better way to find contentment and joy. Only by trusting in God’s grace and providence, Rolheiser argues, can we move beyond our obsessions and rejoice in what we have and who we are.
With his trademark blend of insight, compassion, and honesty laced with humor, the author teaches that it is possible to experience freedom instead of anxiety, solitude instead of loneliness, and a generosity of spirit that returns to the giver far more than it costs.
In this book of poignant meditations, theologian Rolheiser pleads an important case of idealism, romanticism, fulfillment and pure love (eros) in an age of skepticism, cynicism and despair. Pulling from a host of spiritual classics, he succeeds at inspiring his readers, translating with impressive acumen the wisdom of theologians like Karl Rahner, poets like Rainer Maria Rilke and contemporary writers like Annie Dillard. He aptly engages readers in deep philosophical questions without losing them in abstract language because he diligently connects his theological ideas to concrete, common experiences. Rolheiser writes about such topics as self-expression, innocence, friendship, forgiveness, prayer, sexuality and social justice with his signature touch of empathy and eloquence. However, in his effort to inspire optimism, he dodges some controversial issues and appears at times to dangerously discount some very real illnesses (e.g. depression, anxiety disorders), which may require psychiatric and physiological treatment beyond his recommended method of "praying it through." Titled appropriately after the last line of St. John of the Cross's poetic masterpiece, "The Dark Night of the Soul," Rolheiser's reflections capture postmodern anxiety and despair; he accurately identifies some alarming trends in contemporary culture, such as the "Friday Night Syndrome" what he calls our society's need for constant excitement. Overall, his words offer readers a perspective of hope and provide spiritual nourishment at its best.