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Dear Friends,

Many of you may not be aware of how 'radically' our final weeks of Advent have taken shape. This past week we traveled to Philadelphia to mourn and to celebrate Ron's 68 year old brother Tom, who died of a heart attack a week ago. Tom's death was a shock, and it's 'unimaginable' nature pulled our energy away from the "anticipation' aspect of Advent and into the eschatological space of mourning. We emerged from this very meaning-full time of remembrance to settle into the hospital for Ron's much needed, but 'not-anticipated-at-this-time', knee replacement surgery. It seems just when we think we have life 'under control' it throws us a curve. If Ron and I feel this unsettled as 'seasoned' adults, imagine how the young Mary felt with the 'unanticipated' visit of an angel, and the request to let God enter into her life in such an unanticipated way.

Just as we expect that Mary was uplifted by the kind and insightful words of her cousin, Elizabeth, and by Joseph's continuing 'holding' of her, so have we found hope and strength in well wishes from those aware of our recent life events. The love and care extended to us is a manifestation of God's love in our lives. You are embodying God's love and we are profoundly strengthened by your 'presence'.

As we continue our reflection on the words of Oscar Romero during this Advent season, his words of early December 1978 speak powerfully to us today:

"Some want to keep a gospel so disembodied that it doesn't get involved at all in the world it must save.

Christ is now in history.

Christ is in the womb of the people.

Christ is now bringing about the new heaven and the new earth." (December 3, 1978)

"Christ is in the womb of the people." What does it mean for us as a people to be the "womb of Christ"? A womb is the place where life begins and is nurtured and nourished. How are we nurturing and nourishing Christ into life in our world today?

We pray that this sacred season is bringing you more deeply into a place of rejuvenation of faith, and an awareness that we are called to "embody" Christ in our lives.

Reminder: Our liturgy will be held at 4:00PM during the remainder of Fall and Winter months.

Wishing you peace and joy in this final Advent week.

Jean & Ron

Dear Friends,

How is your time of "holy impatience" evolving this Advent? Our growth in "holy impatience" has been deepened by our mindfulness of Occupy Boston, and the invitation to preside at liturgy for the movement this Sunday. While the "official Occupation" is no longer present in Dewey Square, we will be there tomorrow (at 11:00AM) to honor their efforts and celebrate that the Spirit is very much present in our City. We've been impressed with the insightfulness of the organizers of this movement, and while many have criticized their "lack of a clear agenda", their model of inclusive leadership is one which, while differing from corporate America and surely differing from the institutional church's (or Magisterium's) model offers the possibility of finding 'common ground' using a 'cooperation vs. competition' model of organization. A novel imagining! Part of our "holy impatience" is reflected well in this excerpt from a letter written to Mayor Menino, the Boston City Council and the Police Department by faith leaders in the Boston area: "We find ourselves, by nature of our work and our vocation, very much in accord with the Occupy cause. They are drawing much-needed attention to the ever-widening disparity between wealthy elites and the majority of citizens. At the last census, nearly 1 in 5 Bostonians were found to be living in poverty[1], with vastly higher poverty rates among people of color[2].Our experience confirms these statistics. In our food programs, in our shelters, among our parishioners and congregations, we see sharply increased hunger and unemployment. We daily watch as people fall into poverty and become disenfranchised.... The poverty, homelessness, and increasing desperation of our neighbors present a challenge to us all. While these struggles are not easy problems to address, two things are clear: we will only find positive solutions if we work together, and violence against the protesters is no solution. As leaders of faith, we urge you to seek a course that furthers justice and wholeness for all people. In this, we stand as one.

If your schedule allows, we hope that you will join us in downtown at Dewey Square (11:00AM) for this time of prayer of solidarity. (We will, of course, also be celebrating with the Community at 4:00PM as usual, including a Communal Penance Service.) As we have been doing throughout Advent, during our liturgies, we continue sharing excerpts from the Advent homilies of El Salvadoran bishop and martyr, Oscar Romero. Romero's richness of thought and motivation for action, his understanding of the plight of those who are poor and suffer injustice, offer us both hope and guidance as we work for justice in our own land and in our world. This Sunday, we share the words Romero spoke on December 17, 1978.

Advent Homily of Oscar Romero:

I invite you this week, in this hour when our country seems to have no place for joy, to listen to St. Paul repeat to us: "Be always joyful. Be constant in prayer. In every circumstance give thanks. This is God's plan for you in Christ Jesus." ( I Thess. 5:16-17). The Christian, the Christian community must not despair. If someone dies in the family, we must not weep like people without hope. If the skies have darkened in our nation's history, let us not lose hope. We are a community of hope, and like the Israelites in Babylon, let hope for the hour of liberation. It will come. It will come because God is faithful, says St. Paul. This joy must be like a prayer. God who called you is faithful," and God will keep what God has promised. (December 17, 1978)

We pray that this sacred season is bringing you more deeply into a place of rejuvenation of faith, and an awareness that Jesus is "Present" in every aspect of our lives, longing for us to seek and find the Light within.

Reminder: Our liturgy will be held at 4:00PM during the remainder of Fall and Winter months.

Advent Blessings,

Jean & Ron

Dear Friends,

As you may be aware, The Spirit of Life experienced the unanticipated death this past week of our dear community member, Paul Lynch, wife of Jane, father & stepfather to 5 beloved children, and "Pop" to 10 amazing grandchildren. Paul was known for his infectious smile, big heart and huge hugs all of which were manifestations of his compassionate and non-judgmental personhood. His primary life work was that of a school psychologist; however, his early life calling had been that of an ordained priest, and he served for 15 years in a several parishes in the Archdiocese and was known to many for his role as priest on Marriage Encounter weekends. As we reflected this week so personally on the experience of loss, we are mindful of the tremendous gift that our faith offers us in our belief in the communion of saints and the reassurance of life after death in the embrace of our loving God. It gives us hope. November being the month of remembrance of those who have died, and the month when we so dramatically experience the change of seasons , with the falling leaves echoing the sense of loss we feel as we grieve and remember our loved ones who have died. We hope that the Autumn Sonnet by May Sarton will speak to your souls, and if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, we pray that it will be an anchoring insight for your sorrow.

I can let you go as trees let go

Their leaves, so casually, one by one;

If I can come to know what they do know,

That fall is the release, the consummation,

Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit

Would not distemper the great lucid skies

This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.

If I can take the dark with open eyes

And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange

(For love itself may need a time of sleep),

And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,

Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,

The strong root still alive under the snow,

Love will endure - if I can let you go.

Reminder: Our liturgy will be held at 4:00PM during the remainder of Fall and Winter months.

Our Book of Remembrance will be available throughout the month of November for us to remember and honor our loved ones who have died. We hold them in our hearts, with gratitude for all they have 'passed on' to us.

With prayers for peace and hope in your heart,

Jean & Ron

Dear Friends,

Advent is one of our favorite times of year! The meditative pace, contrasting with the world's quickened and sometimes frantic pace of Christmas preparations....the watching and waiting, not for Santa, but for a deepening connection with the Divine within, the contemplative reinforcing our bearings—reminding us that we are a people called to "be Light". Advent is a "pregnant time", a time to wonder about mystery and new life, a time to imagine living more fully, more deeply in God's presence. A time to become and to birth God's Presence in our world.

In a series of sermons, the El Salvadoran bishop and martyr, Oscar Romero, offered a richness of thought and motivation for action on the theme of Advent. We will share some of his wisdom and insights with you during these Advent weeks, and begin with these words he spoke on December 3, 1978.

Advent is not just four weeks

in which to prepare for Christmas.

Advent is the church's life.

Advent is Christ's presence...

and will bring about God's true reign,

telling us, humanity, that Isaiah's prophecy

is now fulfilled:

Emmanuel – God with us.

Advent should admonish us to discover

in each brother or sister that we greet,

in each friend whose hand we shake,

in each beggar who asks for bread,

in each worker who wants to use the right to join a union,

in each peasant who looks for work in the coffee groves,

the face of Christ.

Then it would not be possible to rob them,

to cheat them,

to deny them their rights.

They are Christ,

and whatever is done to them

Christ will take as done to himself.

This is what Advent is:

Christ living among us.

** Archbishop Oscar Romero ** December 3, 1978

As we enter into this sacred season, we pray that you might 'meet' Jesus the Christ in a new and deeper way in your life and in those whose lives intersect with yours. May you be blessed in this time of waiting with a 'holy impatience' to become Advent in the lives of others.

We invite you to join The Spirit of Life Community as we gather for an Advent Twilight Retreat, "Pregnant with Mystery" on Saturday, December 3rd from 3:00-7:00PM at The Hospitality House, 18 Guild Road, Dedham, MA 02026. (Please NOTE that this is NOT held at the church in Weston) All are welcome!!

Reminder: Our liturgy will be held at 4:00PM during the remainder of Fall and Winter months.

Advent Blessings,

Jean & Ron

Dear Friends,

We missed you all last Sunday, as the October storm left our church in darkness and very, very cold. We hope that all of you have managed to stay warm and 'en-lightened' during the past week. Ron and I are heading off this evening to the Call to Action Conference in Milwaukee along with a number of members of The Spirit of Life Community....and two or three thousand others committed to renewing the Church! I will have the gift of participating in a panel with Fr. Roy Bourgeois and another woman from RCWP, Alta Jacko, to share on the topic: 'Confronting Sexism in the Church: Why We Need Women Priests.' We're excited and eager to be with this gathering of committed and passionate people. In our absence, Spirit of Life member, Sue Malone, will preside at a Communion Service on Sunday at 4:00PM. We will be thinking of you praying together as we fly home....inspired and fed from our time at CTA. Sue will be using the gospel from the All Saint's liturgy, the Beatitudes, and offers the following very rich quote by Natalie Goldberg for us to contemplate:

"Whether we know it or not, we transmit the presence of everyone we have ever known, as though by being in each other's presence we exchange our cells, pass on some of our life force, and then we go on carrying that other person in our body, not unlike springtime when certain plants in fields we walk through attach their seeds in the form of small burrs to our socks, our pants, our caps, as if to say "Go on, take us with you, carry us to root in another place." This is how we survive long after we are dead. This is why it is important who we become, because we pass it on."

Natalie Goldberg

from "Out of the Ordinary" by Joyce Rupp

Reminder: Beginning this Sunday, and throughout the winter, our liturgy will be held at 4:00PM....and remember too, to turn your clocks back one hour!

Our Book of Remembrance will be available throughout the month of November for us to remember and honor our loved ones who have died. We hold them in our hearts, with gratitude for all they have 'passed on' to us.

Wishing you hopeful 'becoming'!

Jean & Ron