Rolheiser on Saintliness

I love the writing of Ron Rolheiser, and I found The Holy Longing (one of my favorite of his books) to be extremely helpful to me during the period of my conversion back to Catholcism after spending many years practicing Buddhism.

In a recent interview with Rolheiser that was published in the periodical Presence (a international journal for spiritual directors), Rolheiser spoke about saintliness in an atypical way. He said

Gratitude is the ultimate virtue – even more so than love. What makes someone a saint is gratefulness. Becuse love is only real when it’s fueled by gratitude. If it’s fueled by resentment or duty, it’s going to cause resentment or be manipulative. If someone asks, “Who’s the most saintly person you know?” I would say the most grateful person. Gratitude becomes the fuel for everything. It’s not just conincidental that the word eucharist means “gratitude.”

I’ve spoke before here about gratitude, but it is something I don’t think one can spend too much drawing attention to. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one of the most important things we can do. Imagine what the world might look like if, rather than walking around with a sense of entitlement, we viewed everything as gift. In Rolheiser’s terms, the world would be filled with saintliness.