Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas, is an internationally known lecturer and writer. The author of a 2010 article on Rolheiser for National Catholic Reporter had this to say about him: "Few Catholic authors have that kind of cradle-to-grave appeal, across the widest possible spectrum of political and theological outlooks and life experiences."
His latest book, Prayer, Our Deepest Longing, bears out that observation. In the 32 reflections on prayer Rolheiser covers topics using examples from daily life, Scripture, and contemporary culture ranging from Zorba the Greek to the cartoon Ziggy. Scripture references are sometimes familiar, sometimes enlightening, depending on the reader. For example, in writing about the Good Shepherd, Rolheiser explains that sheep were so attuned to their master's voice they would not follow even a very good imitator. He also explains the phrase "He descended into hell" from the Apostle's Creed in a way unfamiliar to me.
The material is organized into six chapters addressing prayer issues such as common struggles, hearing God's voice, and developing a mature prayer life.
Rolheiser's intention for this book is to provide "a healthy combination" of consolation and challenge to help readers overcome struggles with prayer "so that it no longer feels as though you are simply doing some drab duty, wasting precious time, talking to a wall, entertaining yet another daydream, or simply rehashing your heartaches and headaches."
The reflections may be read in any order, he writes, then echoes a non-negotiable rule from great spiritual masters: You have to show up for prayer and you have to show up regularly.