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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,

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

Dear Friends,

This time of year is one of marked change, especially for we who are blessed to live in New England and witness the trees splashing their colors as they prepare to settle in for winter. In recent weeks, in our letters to you we've reflected on a variety of 'other' changes including our newly revamped website (visit www.spiritoflifecommunity.org) which we hope you've had a chance to visit. We're delighted with its new look and so grateful to Mary Southard, CSJ of Ministry of the Arts for gifting us with permission to use her beautiful "Holy Spirit Soaring" for our logo. Last week at our quarterly Community Meeting, the question was raised about the possibility of changing our time of liturgy to 4:00PM (rather than the present 5:00PM) during the period of Daylight Savings. After checking in on many levels including especially with the church who so graciously offers us the use of their sacred space, we have made the decision to make this change. So, please mark your calendars, to indicate that on Sunday, November 6th (the day the clocks are turned back an hour) our liturgy will 'turn back' one hour also, making our time of gathering at 4:00PM.

In our gospel reading this Sunday, the Pharisees continue their attempts to 'trip Jesus up', this time with the demand that Jesus tell them which is the "greatest commandment" in the law. Jesus, ever adept at not being ensnared in their theological traps, responds that the 'whole law and the prophets' depends upon following the commands to "love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind....and to love your neighbor as yourself". While I'm sure each of us strives to live in accord with this sacred command, often in our humanness, we fail, and with our limited vision it's difficult to image what the world would be like "if only" we all could hold this value and belief....and live it out. Below is a reflection that will be our 2nd reading this Sunday....and it expands our imaginations to envision "what then"....

And Then

And then all that as divided us will merge

And then compassion will be wedded to power

And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind

And then both men and women will be gentle

And then both men and women will be strong

And then no person will be subject to another's will

And then all will enrich and free and varied

And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many

And then all will share equally in the Earth's abundance

And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old

And then all will nourish the young

And then all will cherish life's creatures

And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth

And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth

Judy Chicago

May your hearts be at peace even as you seek to deepen your love of God and neighbor,

Jean & Ron

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, November 6th (the day the clocks are turned back an hour) our liturgy will 'turn back' one hour also, changing the time of our gathering to 4:00PM. As decided at our community meeting, we will celebrate our weekly Sunday Eucharist at 4:00 pm during the winter months while we are on Eastern Standard Time and then evaluate if we want to keep this as our permanent time. This Sunday, October 30 (at 5pm) we celebrate the commissioning of one of our community members in conjunction with the Federation of Christian Ministries as she continues to minister in new directions. Given that next week, the church commemorates the Feast of All Saints and All Souls, 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 we celebrate ourselves as saints in the spirit of Catherine of Siena's "All the way to heaven is heaven," we remember All Saints and All Souls, all of our spiritual ancestors on whose shoulders we stand. Joyce Rupp leads us in our remembrance of our spiritual ancestors. We will use this reading as our second reading in our Eucharist.

Remembering Our Spiritual Ancestors

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...

May your hearts warmly celebrate those who have nourished your inner spirit.

Ron & Jean

Dear Friends,

Last week we wrote about "change being in the air", and this week we are focused on a change in "cyberspace"! We invite you to visit our newly revamped and updated Spirit of Life website (www.spiritoflifecommunity.org) After many months of work on the part of a number of members of our community, we have 'gone live' with a new improved, easy to update site! A very special word of thanks to the Thierauf family for sharing their amazing generosity, sharing their expertise, time and energy to make this happen.

Ron and I had the gift of sharing a meal last night with Matthew Fox after picking him up at the airport in preparation for tomorrow's presentation at The Spirit of Life (see details below). During our dinner conversation, Matt shared a quote from the theologian and philosopher, Dorothee Söelle that connected in essence to our thoughts for this week's letter to you. The quote is: "To feed the hungry means to do away with militarism. To bless the children means to leave the trees standing for them". Our thoughts have been revolving around the interface between the Feast of St. Francis (Oct. 4th) which will be the theme of our liturgy on Sunday, and Matthew Fox's theology of creation spirituality. As we anticipate Matthew's presentation to us tomorrow and reflect on the gospel of the "lilies of the field" and contemplate Francis' love for nature this Söelle quote emphasizes the reality that Francis' way is not just a peaceful way of being in the world, but it is an essential attitude of respect for life, and in today's reality, a mandate to change our behaviors if we wish to have a place of peace and well-being for all who inhabit this planet Earth. Imagine the resources that would be available to those who hunger, if our country had not been engaged in war these past years. Imagine a world where "global warming" created by our own misuse of nature didn't threaten the planet as it presently does.....

How do we take on such a huge task, especially when it appears that there are so many current forces mitigating against a mandate such as this. One way that we touched upon is that of The St. Francis Pledge, which can be found on the website: www.catholicclimatecovenant.org. We encourage you to visit this website and register your commitment, or simply 'pray' this pledge in your heart today as a way of increasing your consciousness and decision making.

The St. Francis Pledge

I/We Pledge to:

• PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God's Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.

• LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.

• ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.

• ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.

• ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable

We are blessed to have the founder of the concept of Creation Spirituality with us as we contemplate the message of Francis....we hope that you can join us for this amazing opportunity!

Wishing you blessings of peace and hope in your life and in our world,

Jean & Ron