Monday, October 30, 2017

Padre’s Post - Saving Halloween - Part II

Why is Halloween sensationalized with all the spook and ghoul? Folk stories conjured images of a night of restless souls seeking peace and safe passage to “the other side.” Tales were spurned of mischievous spirits allowed one night of mayhem upon the living. The eve of November 1 being a thin place between the visible and invisible world, it is easy to imagine strange visitations from those who had crossed over. People love a scary story, so All Hallow’s Eve became a perfect holiday for nightmares.

Beyond the tales of ghosts and goblins lies a helpful and meaningful idea. I cannot write about the effect of unresolved issues or painful regrets upon the dead, but I do know how it effects the living. I have witnessed the grief and trauma left in the wake of persons whose lives ended suddenly and “before their time.” The sorrow and grief can be unbearable and never-ending. I have also seen, and personally experienced, the pain left when unresolved hurt and bitterness lingers long after death. Perhaps, All Hallow’s Eve can be a night when grief, anger, hurt, sorrow, and regret can be released to allow both those who have passed to “rest in peace,” and for those who have survived them to find some peace.

On Halloween night light a candle and offer a prayer to release lingering hurt and grief. Offer forgiveness where negative memories remain tethered to a father or mother, sister or brother, friend or associate, or even a complete stranger who committed violence against you or a loved one. Receive peace and healing where grief and sorrow linger from losing someone too early in life. Let it be a night when some peace and healing can come to unresolved hurt and grief.

Beyond our own personal lives, this All Hallow’s Eve falls in the wake of a year filled with senseless and tragic deaths from violence and natural disasters. Many are burdened with the sudden loss of loved ones. The church will offer prayers from the altar for peace on behalf of all who suffered death and for those who remain mired in the grief from their sudden passing.

Fr. Richard

Sunday, October 29, 2017

For The Sake Of All Creation

Father Richard's sermon for October 29, 2017.

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(No text available)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Padre’s Post - Saving Halloween – Part I

All Hallow’s Eve is a time to allow our imagination to soar beyond the rational and logical and embrace the idea that those who passed before us, may still share the world with us. “A thin place” is a Celtic term to describe particular places and times where the line between the visible and invisible world is “thin.” Those places of divine beauty and wonder. Those moments of divine inspiration. The days that mark a holy feast or the birthday of a dearly beloved. Times and places that are set aside for holy remembrance.

All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) is one of those nights when our imagination can open the doors and barriers that separate the visible and invisible world to welcome back those that have been separated from us by death. It is a night to believe the words of Christian Mystic, Meister Eckhart, when asked, “Where do the dead go?” he answered, “No Where.” In other words, they remain with us in the land of the living.

There are days when the memories of departed friends, family members, and parishioners are so vivid I am drawn into a conversation with them. I hear their voice, I recall their influence and personality, I relive a past memory with them, and I realize, if only for a moment, they are not gone or dead at all, they share this life of both visible and invisible wonders and realities.

As a priest, I am in the business of both life and death. In my decades of being bedside with the dying and presiding at funerals, I have come to my own observation that dying has a finite season and death only has two days. On the other hand, life, is eternal. Life always swallows up death. It is the lives of the dearly departed that remain in our hearts and memories, not their death.

So let Halloween be hallow, in your life. Let the day be filled with the presence of recent and long lost loved ones, and perhaps reacquaint yourself to the idea that in many ways their life continues with you. Allow your imagination to create a different reality than your eyes can see and your hands can touch. For as Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who believe without ever needing to see or touch.”

Fr. Richard

Friday, October 27, 2017

God and Taxes

Father Richard's sermon for October 22, 2017.

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(No text available)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Padre’s Post - Remembering the Saints (Mother and St. Francis)

I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. Saints were persons who lived long ago and were more legend than real. Later in life, I learned a different understanding of a “saint.” Reading the New Testament letters from the apostles I realized the author was addressing his thoughts to the saints in Corinth, or in Thessalonica, or the various other Mediterranean cities where the church was born during the first century. My vocational education taught me a saint was, “one who was set apart.” The life of a saint is a life set apart to be an instrument of God (regardless if they are aware or not.)

To me, my mother was a saint, Santa Rita. This post could not contain all the reasons why but suffice it say in the midst of life, often turbulent and chaotic, she was a person of peace, humility, strength, and stability. Her life continues to be an inspiration and guide post to me as I navigate my way through marriage, parenthood, and simple daily life. I recall her memory and remember how little she needed to be happy and content, and how able she was to endure other’s sadness and malcontent.

Saint Francis was known to me from my earliest memories. It was the name of the church in which I was raised and later the name of the elementary and junior High School I would attend. The life of Francis left an indelible impression upon me. His counter-cultural life style. His joyful living while needing very little. His coming upon the ruins of an abandoned church and restoring it to host a vibrant community. My own temperament finds a soul friend in the life of Francis of Assisi known best for the prayer, “Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Peace…”

Our faith teaches us, we do not walk alone but we are accompanied by “a cloud of witnesses.” They have walked before us and they now walk with us. Though they are unseen, they have left us the gospel of their lives directing us along our own path of a life lived well.

On All Saints Day, Nov. 1, remember a saint of the church who has been a light and guide for you. On All Soul’s day, Nov. 2, remember a saint who walked with you in your life and whose prayers continue to guide and guard you from the invisible world. My candles will burn for Francis and Rita.

Fr. Richard

Monday, October 23, 2017

Padre’s Post - Remembering the Saints

The Feast of All Saint’s is Nov. 1. It is preceded by All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), and followed by The Feast of All Soul’s, a day to remember all who have lived before us. On the Sunday following The Feast of All Saint’s (Nov. 5), the liturgy will be directed toward the remembrance of all who have gone before us and who now pray for us from the communion of saints.

Our faith recognizes that life is eternal. When we die, “life is changed, not ended.” The saints and beloved people with whom we have shared our lives, continue to inspire and influence us, even as they pray for us.

Regardless of your own personal thoughts concerning life after death, the church invites us to remember the people who lived and died before us. These are the ones who perhaps raised us, loved and partnered with us, influenced us, inspired us, and left an indelible mark upon the world we have inherited from them.

As the days of November herald the coming of winter, with its chill and darkness, light a candle in your home and remember the beloved saints in your own life who loved you and befriended you. Allow the memories of their life and influence upon you to bring warmth and light and gratitude. Remember, also, the eternal value and blessing of your own life. Allow the remembrance of those who have passed before you invoke the value of your own life to those who will follow you.

Fr. Richard

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beloved Community

Father Richard's sermon for October 15, 2017.

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The Mind Of Christ

Father Richard's sermon for October 1, 2017.

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