Saturday, September 17, 2016

Homily Starter for Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Karen Hylen Sept.17,2016

Homily Starter: Bridget Mary Meehan

A long time ago around the fireside in our cozy gray cottage in Coolkerry, County Laois, Ireland, our family prayed the rosary each evening. My mother, Bridie finished the rosary with the “trimmings,” officially known as the Litany of Loreto.

This beautiful Litany contains many names for Mary that reflect the divine feminine which the Blessed Mother and the goddesses before her carried for centuries.

In When Mary Becomes Cosmic: A Jungian and Mystical Path to the Divine Feminine, David Richo shares that the archetypal images in the Litany of Loreto are a treasure trove for our spiritual development. Each of these images reveals our soul’s potential as God ‘s spiritual power acts for us and within us: House of God, Tower of Ivory, Mirror of Justice, Vessel of Honor, Seat of Wisdom, Cause of Our Joy, Comfort of the Troubled, Morning Star,  and Gate of Heaven. 

As we reflect on the readings from Amos and the Gospel, a common message challenges us to be single-hearted and compassionate and to identify ourselves with the poor, the neglected and the suffering. As we do this, there is no “us” or “them.” Each person is the beloved of God. We erase the margins that label some people as outsiders and create a circle of compassion where all belong because we are one. 

In my experience we have opportunities to care about and for others each day. Sometimes, it is simply listening with our ears and our heart. When we respond to others' needs in practical and immediate ways, we are the face of God in our world. 

As some of you know, I have breakfast with a group of elders in McDonald’s most days. I love these wise and witty people. Sometimes, we are joined by members of the homeless community who sit on a grassy lawn nearby. They call me “Silver Angel”, my favorite name. This week Jesse, Keith and Tanya left their signs "homeless and hungry" behind, and enjoyed a sausage McMuffin breakfast at Micky D's. Thank you, Mary Mother of Jesus Community, for supporting this humble, hands-on - ministry of hospitality to our sisters and brothers in need. 

David Richo writes: “… salvation is always and already happening as long as we are engaged in the works of mercy in the world. We join in the redemptive renewal when we see pain and respond to it with forms of compassion outlined in the works of mercy.” (When Mary Becomes Cosmic, p. 123) 

Here is a contemporary translation of the works of mercy from Richo's book:

The bodily works of mercy are:
Feed the hungry;
Give drink to the thirsty;
Clothe the naked;
Shelter the homeless;
Visit the sick and imprisoned;
Assist the dying.

The Spiritual works of mercy are:
Comfort the troubled;
Counsel the Confused;
Provide information to those who need it;
Speak up to the unjust;
Forgive injuries;
Bear wrongs without retaliation;
Pray for the living and dead

Homily Starter-part 2 Karen Hylen:

I was delighted when Bridget Mary suggested that for the second reading we consider using some thoughts from David Richo’s book, When Mary Becomes Cosmic.  Richo is an author who uses the lens of Carl Jung's thoughts to effectively shed a profound and expansive perspective on our human experience. Jung spent his life exploring the human psyche and recognized that at it's depth it had a kinship with soul. Richo honors this understanding with the statement, “Salvation is always and already happening as long as we are engaged in works of mercy.” At the surface it seems like an easy formula for the significant work of participating in the ongoing process of Salvation. Wouldn't it be great if all it took, having been given a list of what those works of mercy are, to follow through as Nike proclaims and, “Just Do It!”? I certainly have found that it's not quite that easy. We know we are “failing” at this extraordinary task when we see the massive suffering surrounding us in the world and we recognize how easy it is to be distracted by our own petty needs, or by all that separates, rather than connects us, to others. However, according to Jung’s understanding there is a reason we have such difficulty in getting beyond our personal selfishness long enough to serve the needs of others. To simplify Jung’s complex body of work: There is a part of God that is unconscious and we’re it! His theory of Individuation suggests that our true life’s journey is to transform the darkness residing in the personal and collective unconscious into the light of conscious awareness and, in so doing, become uniquely and wholly ourselves. He termed this process, Individuation, and profoundly states that Individuation is the ongoing Incarnation of God. In other words, as we work doggedly at the task of becoming our true selves, this process of Individuation becomes our primary work of mercy and that this work is intimately intertwined with the redemptive process by which our world finds salvation. It is our greatest work to steadfastly redeem our struggling personal ego from its imprisonment within the conditioned mind and the false self it has created. This inferior and suffering self is created by our human past and its internalized fictions. It is this process of Individuation that gives birth to the true Self. Richo explains that for Jung, “The Self is the archetype of God (dwelling) in us as unconditional love, perennial wisdom, and healing power. These divine qualities are in bodied in our very being: the love is in our hearts; the wisdom is in our minds; and the healing is in our souls. We are not complete as humans until we activate – individuate these gifts."  Jung states that each birth of this transpersonal Self is experienced as a death by the fragile ego. We participate in our own redemption through a process of Individuation in which we use self-will to mindfully disengage from actions driven by a selfish aggrandized personal ego and choose instead to engage a transpersonal Self that sees mirrored in the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters an indwelling Christ in need of our compassion and love. This mirrored seeing occurs when we are humble enough to recognize that the suffering we see in others also resides within our own soul. We are all "wounded healers." However, through this conscious action of Individuation we become like Mary, The House of God, and actively participate in an ongoing Incarnation of God by which we and the world seek redemption and ever so precariously walk a path toward Salvation.

As a springboard for our reflections on today’s readings, as well as the thoughts shared by Bridget Mary and myself, I would like to link and highlight the wisdom statement of our gospel reading: “ No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” I would like to paraphrase this wisdom and suggest: You cannot serve both God and the false self! 

How have you personally experienced this inner tension of the false self vs. the indwelling Christ and how has it supported or interfered with your ability to perform works of mercy when the opportunity crosses your path?

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