Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Liturgy of Remembrance


(We originally compiled this liturgy when requested by a friend to commemorate her mothers passing. It developed from there. It has become an opportunity for our community to remember and celebrate our friends and family who have passed through the veil. We have used this liturgy on Nov. 1 All Saints Day but not exclusively. It has been a useful tool at various times with small groups and larger gatherings. )

Silence and reflection as we gather

You who spoke the universe into being, whose eye is on the sparrow
Come among us Blessed Three in One, meet us here

You who is present in the poor and the broken, who comforts the mournful and stands by the forsaken
Come among us Sacred Three in One, meet us here

You who dances in silence and shines in darkness
Come among us Blessed Three in One, meet us here

Light Candles of Rememberance *

Comfort from the Scripture (can be read by a single vioce or rotated)

Psalm 139:7-10
7 Where can i go from your Spirit ?
Or where can I go to flee your presence
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bead in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the most remote part of the sea,
10 Even there your hand will lead me.
And your right hand will lay hold of me

John 14:1-3
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have
told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take
you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

1 Thes. 4:13-15
13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.

Revelation 21:3-4
3 And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God:
4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.


Present offerings of rememberance ^

Sing or Read

God in my birthing
God in my living
God in my choosing
God in my dying

God in my slumber
God in my dreaming
God in my waking
God in my thinking

God in my eyes
God in my ears
God in my lips
God in my hands

God in my nights
God in my days
God in my working
God in my play

God in my watching
God in my hoping
God in my head
God in my heart

God to enfold me
God to surround me
God in my ever living soul

( adapted from a Galic Prayer)

Proclamation of Hope

1 Cor 15: 51-57
51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.


All our tears and all our laughter
Safe in the hands of God

All our grief and all our joy
Safe in the heart of God

All our stories and all our memories
Safe in the mind of God

Those we remember and those we love
Safe in the Grip of God


God, Father of all, father us

Christ, Redeemer of all, redeem us

Spirit, Comforter of all, comfort us

Bless us on our journey through this life and lead us saftley home
tobe joined with you and those we love.

In the name of the Father
The son the Holy Spirit
The Blessed Three in One.


------------**+**-------------+ may perform sign of the cross

Italics are repeated together

* people can bring candles or they can be there.

^ place pictures, memorabilia. Stories, memories and reflection can be shared or pics etc. can be placed in silence. This largely depends on time and size of gathering.

Link to a beautiful Celtic farewell blessing for the passing of a loved one

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Francis and the Celtic Connection

When Fancis of Assisi came on the scene in 1200 he embraced a style of Christianity with an emphasis on creation, care of the poor, the place of women in monastic communites that seamingly came out of nowhere.

In 613 Columbanus a Celtic missionary monk responsible for planting over 50 monastic communites throughout Eruope arrives in Milan. The King of Lombardy offers Columbanus a site seventy miles south to establsh a community. The location is where the Bobbio stream flows into the Trebbia. Columbanus gladly accepts. In 614 before the winter sets in, a new Irish monastery called Bobbio takes shape in the foothills of the Apennines. It is to be the last of Columbanus' foundations and his final resting place.

When Columbanus died, every branch of knowledge known in his day was represented in the library he established at Bibbio. The school of Bobbio became the intellectual center of northern Italy. His memory was so stamped upon the history of the region that the Roman Church sainted him despite it's opposition while he was alive.

Bibbio is 167 km from Assisi.

The similarities between Francis's vision of monastic life and the values of the Celtic monastics has not been lost on some historians. It is very possible Francis was wittingly or unwittingly influenced by the substantial mark left by Columbanus and his foundation some 600 years earlier in the area.

photo: the tomb of Columbanus in the Basilica of San Columbano in Bibbio

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Teresa of Avilia (1515-82)

Born in Avilia, Spain, on March 28, 1515, to a family of converted Jews Theresa became a Carmilite nun and later founded the Reformed order of Carmelites. John of the Cross was her protege'.
She was given to mystical experiences in prayer. She encouraged an openess to such things yet did not encourage dependance on them.
Her focus was on nurturing a relationship with Christ through engaing God's presence. She taught that that divine presence was to be recieved with joy and not treated as a right.

She penned an extensive biography and a number of books, that she wrote during the fifteen years when she was actively engaged in founding new communities of reformed Carmelite nuns. The Way of Perfection she composed the Way of Perfection and Foundations for the special guidance of her nuns. Her best know The Interior Castle was written with a larger audiance in mind, in it she writes with unwavering authority on the spiritual life.

Her orders way of life was austere and her reforms radical.

In the autumn of 1582, Teresa, although ill, set out for Alva de Tormez, when she arrived at the convent, Teresa went to bed in a state of exhaustion. She never recovered, and three days passed away.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Celtic Thanksgiving Reflection

King of Mysteries

You existed before the elements

before water covered the ocean floor

You are without beginning and without end

You created the land out of shapless mass

You carved the mountains and chisiled the valleys

and covered the earth with trees and grass

You measured each object

each span within the universe

the height of the mountains

the depths of the oceans

the distance from the sun to the moon

from star to star

You created men and women

to be stewards of your earth

And to always praise you for your boundless love

excerpt from a 9th century Celtic Psalter
graphic: celtic tree of life knott

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Creation Reflections

If you want to know the creator, understand created things

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him all ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

The heavens declare the glory of God and the fermenant showeth His handy work.
Psalm 19:1
photo: b culver

Monday, October 6, 2008


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;where there is darkness, light;and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


link to "Make me a channel of your peace" by Sinead O' Connor

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

We know more of Francis than of any other medieval saint. We have his own words, his Rule, Testament, letters, poems, and liturgical writings. As well the accounts of several of his disciples, written within twenty years after his death. Francis captured the imagination of his contemporaries as well as modern men by his simplicity and pure grace of spirit.

Baptized John Bernardone his Father a wealthy cloth merchant nicknamed Francesco. By his own account Francis lived a wild life and selfish life as a youth.

He and his young friends went to war for the Pope against the Germans. During the campaign Francis was captured imprisioned and fell ill. On his return to Assisi he experienced a time of deep spiritual crisis during which he was quietly searching for something worthy of his complete devotion.
While out Riding one day in the plains below Assisi, he encountered a leper whose condition horrorifid Francis. Overcoming his revulsion he kissed the hand. This was a turning point in his life.
He started visiting hospitals, especially the refuge for lepers, which most persons avoided. While praying in the little church of St. Damian outside the walls of Assisi, he felt the eyes of the Christ on the crucifix gazing at him and heard a voice saying three times, "Build my Church My house, which you see is in ruins." The building, he observed, was old and ready to fall.
Convinced he had now found the right path, Francis went home and took cloth out of his father's warehouse and sold it, together with the horse that carried it, brought the money to the poor priest of St. Damian's church, and asked if he might stay there. His father pursued him to St. Damian’s and angrily declared that he must either return home or renounce his share in his inheritance-and pay the purchase price of the horse and the goods he had taken as well. Francis made no objection to being disinherited.
Cut off from his family he began a strange new life. He roamed the highways, singing God's praise. When he returned to St. Damian's the priest welcomed him, and Francis now began in earnest to repair the church, begging for building stones in the streets of Assisi and carrying off those that were given him. He labored with the masons in the actual reconstruction, and, by the spring of 1208, the church was once more in good condition. Next he repaired an old chapel dedicated to St. Peter. By this time many other youg people of Assisi had joined him in the restoration and care of the poor.

On the feast of St. Matthias, in 1209, the way of life he was to follow was revealed to him. The Gospel appointed for this day was Matthew 10 : 7-19: And going, preach, saying The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.... Freely have you received, freely give. Take neither gold nor silver nor brass in your purses . . . nor two coats nor shoes nor a staff.... Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.... These words suddenly became Christ's direct charge to him.

He cast off his shoes, staff, and leathern girdle, but kept his rough woolen coat, which he tied about him with a rope. This was the habit he gave his friars the following year. In this garb he went to Assisi the next morning and began to speak to the people he met on the shortness of life, the need of repentence, and the love of God. His salutation to those he passed on the road was, "Our Lord give you peace."

For a year Francis and his now numerous companions preached among the peasants and helped them in the fields. A brief rule which has not been preserved was drawn up. Apparently it consisted of little more than passages from the Gospel which Francis read to his first followers, with brief injunctions to manual labor, simplicity, and poverty.

Soon the abbot of the Benedictine monastery gave them Portiuncula chapel and the ground on which it stood. On the ground around the chapel the friars quickly built themselves some huts of wood and clay, enclosing them by a hedge. This was the first Franciscan monastery.

Francis never wanted to found a religious order -- this former knight thought that sounded too military. He thought of what he was doing as expressing God's brotherhood. His companions came from all walks of life, from fields and towns, nobility and common people, universities, the Church, and the merchant class.

Francis practiced true equality by showing honor, respect, and love to every person. The early years were a time of training in poverty, mutual help, and brotherly love. The friars worked at their various trades and in the fields of neighboring farmers to earn their bread. When work was lacking, they begged, though they were forbidden to take money. They were especially at the service of lepers, and those who were helpless and suffering.

Francis was reverently in love with all natural phenomena—sun, moon, air, water, fire, flowers; his quick warm sympathies responded to all that lived. His tenderness for and his power over animals were noted again and again. Francis felt that nature, all God's creations, were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the pope.

Francis did not try to abolish poverty, he tried to make it holy. Following the Gospel literally, Francis and his companions went out to preach two by two. At first, listeners were understandably hostile to these men in rags trying to talk about God's love. People even ran from them for fear they'd catch this strange madness! But soon these same people noticed that these barefoot beggars wearing sacks seemed filled with constant joy. They celebrated life. And people had to ask themselves: Could one own nothing and be happy? Soon those who had met them with mud and rocks, greeted them with bells and smiles.

Francis and Cardinal Ugolino drew up a rule for the fraternity of lay men and women who wished to associate themselves with the Friars Minor and follow as best they could the rules of humility, labor, charity, and voluntary poverty, without withdrawing from the world: the Franciscan tertiaries or Third Order. These congregations of lay poeple became a power in the religious life of the late Middle Ages.

Francis' final years were filled with suffering as well as humiliation. As his health was growing worse, he consented to put himself in the hands of the Pope's physician. For two weeks he lost his sight, but finally triumphed over suffering and depression and composed the beautiful, triumphant "Canticle of the Sun," and set it to music.

As the end drew near, Francis sent a last message to Clare and her nuns. While the brothers stood about him singing the "Canticle of the Sun," with the new stanza he had lately given them, in praise of Sister Death, he repeated the one hundred and forty-first Psalm, "I cried to the Lord with my voice; with my voice I made supplication to the Lord." He called for bread and broke it and to each one present gave a piece in token of their love.

Francis died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45.

complied from numorus sources
graphic: fresco by Giottio

Friday, October 3, 2008

Therese of Lisieux (1873- 1897)

Therese Martin was the youngest of 9 children. Her mother died when she was four. At age 15 she became a carmelite nun, though she had desired to do this earlier.

Her intention was to offer herself as a missionary nun to a work in Vietnam. The on set of tuberculosis made this impossible. She died only nine years into her life in the convent.

She kept extensive journals that were reworked after her death and published by her sister.

Therese loved nature. She often used the imagery of nature to explain how the Divine Presence is everywhere. She was convinced everything is connected in God's loving care.

Therese saw herself as 'the Little Flower of Jesus.' Just as the simple wild flowers in forests and fields. They go unnoticed by the greater population, yet grow under the caring eye of God. This was how Therese understood herself before the Lord - simple and hidden. Blooming where God had planted her."

for further info go to