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Dear Friends,

As is our custom, “when the clocks change our time for liturgy changes.”   This means, that this Sunday (November 2nd) we will ‘fall back’ an hour and begin Mass at 4:00PM!    This weekend,  the church celebrates  the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls.  We like to combine these two celebrations in what we’re thinking of as a “Saintly Soul Celebration.”  

We invite you to bring pictures of the "saints" in your lives to our liturgy this Sunday. The "saints" or "souls" may be a loved ones who have died or perhaps they may be among the living whose spirit calls forth your holiness. Also, once again this year, we invite you to inscribe the names of loved ones who have died in our Book of Remembrance which will be available during the entire month of November.

As you are likely aware, St. Catherine of Siena is a favorite for both of us, and Ron often quotes Catherine’s "All the way to heaven is heaven," view on the spiritual life.  More often than not, as we “walk the walk” that is our life, Catherine’s perspective seems a bit too lofty, too far beyond the reach of our spiritual arms.  But, perhaps she is inviting us not so much to re-frame our own lived experience,  as to re-vision what heaven is all about.  Perhaps she’s saying “heaven isn’t what you’ve been thinking”... “heaven is found in the experience of living...and loving”  Perhaps heaven is about “presence”... to those whom we love...those whom we do not love...those whom we wish we could love.  My life after death theology is quite simply about relationship.   After passing from life ‘as we know it’ into ‘the unknown that death is’ we are with our creator in a relationship which mirrors the ‘being with’ we’ve lived in our lives.  If we have sought relationship, we will experience it...if we’ve rejected relationship, we will find it absent.  So, perhaps Catherine is saying:   “practice ‘being with’ ...attend to relationships in your life.... seek to deepen your capacity to give and to receive love....for this is what heaven is all about.”

As we bring to mind the ‘saints’ in our lives, those living among us, and those who have died, we celebrate all that we have learned from the love given and shared.   Joyce Rupp’s prayerful “Remembrance of our Spiritual Ancestors” is a lovely way to celebrate the bond that lives on in our lives with those who have walked with us, love and cared for us, challenged us, and cherished us.  Joyce’s litany will be our opening rite at our Eucharist tomorrow.  We share it below for your prayerful reflection.

Remembering Our Spiritual Ancestors     (by Joyce Rupp)

Let us remember the ones who lived and loved deeply,

who found the source of their inner strength from you, the Divine Beloved...

Let us remember the light-filled ones, who enkindled our spirits

with their teachings and the spark of their beliefs...

Let us remember the risk-takers, who faced their fears and took action,

who sought justice even though they had to pay the price for it...

Let us remember the vulnerable ones who allowed us to care for them,

to be with them in their time of need...

Let us remember the faith-filled ones who brought us to the Holy One,

who led us, by their words and example, into deeper relationship with God...

Let us remember the brave ones who walked through their struggles with hope,

who taught us how to trust and have confidence during our times of sorrow and difficulty...

Let us remember the great lovers of life,

whose humor and enthusiasm lifted our spirits and brought us joy...

Let us remember the nurturers who birthed us physically or spiritually,

who gave us sustenance by their caring presence...

We hope that you are strengthened as you recall the ‘saints’ in your life, and that you know you are most welcome to come and to pray with The Spirit of Life Community.   As a community, members and guests of The Spirit of Life, find support and hope in the journey through time and body to deepen our spiritual lives, and work together to transcend our limitations and grow in faith.  Our liturgies are not “cluttered’ with non-inclusive language and messages that discount the dignity of all people.  Rather, we are radically simple in embodying the “good news” of Jesus Christ... “uncluttered” by messages caught in the moral time warp so present in more traditional Catholic liturgies.  At the Spirit of life... the call of women to ordained priesthood is affirmed...the sacredness of all loving relationships is honored and celebrated, and  as Jesus did, we welcome ALL to the Table!    If you are seeking a Catholic community where you do not need to mentally/silently “insert” inclusive language into your prayer at Mass, or lament that your children are hearing non-loving messages about people whose sexual orientation is other than heterosexual, or feel that your “voice” is not heard.....we invite you to come and experience life in our community.  We are an inclusive and interactive community, where everyone has a “voice.”   We are truly a people of “justice & Joy."

With prayers for you in the re-membering, and may your hearts warmly celebrate those who have nourished your inner spirit.

Jean & Ron