Saturday, November 8, 2014

Homily by Jim Lauder, ARCWP

Theme: Most High God in Everything
Subject: We can make God possible in All
Title: “Scared to Death”
St. Iris Faith Community
Sunday October 26, 2014
(October 09, 2014)

                Friends, Matthew’s Jesus said, “ you must love the Most High God with all your heart” (v37) soul and mind.  This passage invites to me discern this Most High God, and the story I am about to share provided me with some insights.  Insights derived by experiencing loss.

                 The other day, I took my dog girls on our usual meditative walk along Dallas road.  Departing from garbage can 14, I walked my usual route.  The skies were clear and it was a beautiful serene evening.  The Olympic Peninsula Mountains fairly visible, and the Port Angeles shores a little shrouded with mist.  Soon, I noticed a crowd gathered at the edge of the path; all eyes fixed on something swimming out into the ocean strait towards Port Angeles.  “ What is it?” I asked.  “It’s big buck that just got chased by dogs.”  Sure enough, I could see the tall antlers and an unmistakable V shaped wake made by the deer on the calm sea.  I stood and watched in horror, as the deer swam towards Port Angeles.
                I thought, “Oh my God how is this possible?  He can’t make it that far in the cold water; he has to turn back!”  But the deer kept swimming and swimming further out until he was barely visible.  In my heart, I begged him to turn around, and for a time, it looked like he might as he started to parallel the shore, but soon after, it was apparent he had changed directions.  Feeling helpless, I continued my walk and caught up with another dog walker.  He knew what had happened and said, “ he’ll survive, it’s survivor of the fittest, and deer can swim from island to island.”  “I hope so”, I said.  I kept walking and kept watching the deer swim further ashore, and then I prayed,  “Oh God please help this deer.”
But the poor and confused animal was still swimming for what seemed an eternity. 

                I said to the dog walker, “I wonder if there is anyone I could call,” and he said, “its no use calling anyone, if you call CRD they will tell ya, call the city, and then they will tell ya, call the Coast Guard, there’s no point,” he said.  His words caused me deeper despair, and so I walked ahead of him to be with my thoughts and escape his negative attitude that I didn’t want to hear.  I felt guilty for not doing anything but pray for the poor deer.  At this point, I couldn’t stand walking any further and turned around.  My peaceful and meditative walk was ruined. 
                Along the path, a couple of the original onlookers were still looking for the deer, but it was so hard to tell where he might have been.  We looked for any sign, and collectively, we refused to give up looking.  But not a sign.  We knew in our hearts that he had drowned.

                This sad incident disturbs me and raises all kinds of questions.  How do we pray?  To a God in the sky who can save this exhausted creature who is so scared and swimming to a certain death?  Why didn’t I call 9-11, and ignore the Darwin theory dog walker’s complacent and hopeless advice? 

Why are so many people willing to stand by and watch a creature swim to its death and not do anything to help?  How sad, that I am one of the onlookers who did nothing to stop this tragedy.

                My prayer to a God who could somehow save the deer was perhaps a desperate plea, and a wish for magic, an old theology that is all about a controlling God in the sky, theism at it finest.  A prayer to this God to deliver magic to save the deer was dashed, and I face the realities of evolution, the cycle of death and life, and the forces of nature.
                I am also reminded of Sister Joan Chittister who speaks of an evolutionary God, a God that evolves in us by the choices we make to enliven God in our world.  The God of the possible; the possible up to us.   The term, Loving Presence also comes to mind as a word to describe an enlivened God.  A God of compassion with us on the banks of the shore, as we watched one of our creatures sink before our eyes.  My meditative walks along Dallas forever changed when I look to the sea.  I will never forget my glorious deer that was scared to death.
                I think we all swim in icy waters from time to time, feeling frightened of life.  I often look for a safe haven on a distant shore, and I want to run away from what frightens me.  By not calling 9-11, I was in effect, swimming away from the frightening image developing before my very eyes.  This image brought to mind a poem by Henry Van Dyke I sometimes read at funerals.  It is
is about immortality.  He wrote.
I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.  Then someone at my side says, "There she goes!"
Gone where?  Gone from my sight ... that is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.  Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at the moment when someone at my side says,  "There she goes! 
There are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"    
                How ironic that I would be standing on the seashore and be watching a majestic animal swimming to save its life, but only to a certain death?   It’s a haunting image.
                However the gift for me, is knowing that the deer’s spirit is etched into my soul and is immortal.  A gift that forces me to discern the kind of God image I wish to actualize in my life.  And, every time I walk on Dallas Road, I can pray and thank the deer for the gifts he has given me.  I can “love this Most High God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind.” (V 37)  Amen.  

Deacons Sally Brochu and Janet Blakeley co-preside at liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida

Sally Brochu and Janet Blakeley, newly ordained deacons co-preside at liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community

Roman Catholic Women Priests Co-Preside at Liturgy at Call to Action

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community at SCC
*Blessing for Bob and Colleen
November 6, 2014

(Please extend hands in blessing)

O God, your son Jesus began his ministry
at a wedding celebration.

May the joy that is experienced as two people begin a life together
Continue to grow and deepen through all that
 life has to offer along the way.

May Jesus continue to transform the water of their every day
To the wine of new vision so that what seems ordinary
Becomes transformed by love.

May Bob and Colleen grow old together knowing the best wine
Is saved till last and
That Jesus is the abiding guest and
Their companion on the way.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

O God, your son Jesus began his ministry
at a wedding celebration.

May the joy that is experienced as two people begin a life together
Continue to grow and deepen through all that
 life has to offer along the way.

May Jesus continue to transform the water of their every day
To the wine of new vision so that what seems ordinary
Becomes transformed by love.

May Bob and Colleen grow old together knowing the best wine
Is saved till last and
That Jesus is the abiding guest and
Their companion on the way.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

* adapted from “The Women’s Prayer Companion” p 43 by Carmelites of Indianapolis, 1995

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Greet Irish Redemptorist Priest Fr. Tony Flannery at Call To Action in Memphis, TN.

Left to right: Joan Chesterfield, Fr.Tony Flannery, Mary Theresa Streck,  ARCWP ,
Barbara Duff ARCWP,, Diane Dougherty, ARCWP

Priest Faces Jail Time for Feeding Hungry in Florida

"The City of Ft. Lauderdale has passed an ordinance which, in effect, prohibits the compassionate feeding of individuals and families living on the city's streets. As a person of faith I am called to speak on on behalf of those who have little or no voice in our community. As a priest and leader of a committed faith community in South Florida I must take a stand against this unjust and unconstitutional law of social injustice. Feeding the hungry has been criminalized in South Florida. For the simple act of handing out a hot meal to a five hungry individuals on the streets of Ft. Lauderdale I was detained and issued a criminal citation by the police with the demand to appear in court to justify my actions. I am asking for your help to help me offset the legal costs of defending myself and standing up for the rights of others in court. I am grateful for any help you might be able to offer..."
Bridget Mary's Response:
This is a tragedy! Jesus said we will be judged on how we serve those in need. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters that you do unto me. Matthew 25

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Dedication of Saint John Lateran, November 9, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Today we interrupt the regular flow of our liturgical year
for the feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran,
the oldest of Rome’s four great basilicas.
From 311, when Constantine
gave the building and land to the Catholic Church,
it’s been considered the cathedral of Rome
and the mother church of Christendom.
Through the centuries, the Lateran has suffered earthquakes,
attacks by Vandals and Saracens, and destruction by fire.
It was rebuilt each time.
But is that building the Church?
Pope Gregory IX started the Inquisition in the early 1200s
to fight heresy by torturing people
until they changed their mind about what they believed,
or it killed them.
In 1310, for example, Marguerite Porete was burned at the stake for
refusing to take back her writings about God’s love.
The effort against heresy continues today
in Vatican offices known as the Curia and the CDF—
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—
which orders theologians and teachers and priests
and ordinary people who speak truth to power
to deny their consciences and be silent.
Popes and bishops no longer have the civil authority
to burn people at the stake for their beliefs,
but in recent years that CDF has attempted to silence,
among others, priests like Helmut Schüller, Tony Flannery,
Roy Bourgeois, and John Dear;
the Leadership Conference of Women Religious;
and 200 Roman Catholic priests who happen to be women.
Is that the Church?
From the time I entered first grade at Fremont Saint Ann’s
until I graduated from the seminary,
4,392 U.S. priests were accused of abusing 10,667 people.
Those abusers were protected,
and their victims re-victimized
by an institutional structure that covered up their abuse.
Is that the Church?
No—that is not the Church.
The Church is not the building in Rome known as St. John Lateran.
It’s not the Inquisition or the Curia or the CDF.
It is not an oppressive hierarchy that protects abusers.
We know what the Church is.
The Church is us.
Paul told the Corinthians that God’s Spirit within them
made them a holy place, a temple of God.
They were God’s building, founded on Jesus.
They themselves were the Church.
The Jewish people went to Jerusalem to visit the Temple,
there to encounter God in the holy place.
But, as John’s Gospel tells us,
those who had authority in the Temple
were using their power to oppress God’s people.
Jesus criticized them for their misuse of power.
We, if we are to be followers of Jesus’ Way,
must imitate him.
When people are oppressed,
we are the ones who must speak truth to power.
We are called to make Ezekiel’s vision live:
abundant water flowing out of the temple of God,
those in whom the Spirit of God dwells,
the holy ones—us.
Every couple of weeks or so I receive an e-mail
asking about Holy Spirit.
What kind of community are we?
How do we worship?
What’s our Mass like?
Where is our Church?
I have two answers:
we meet at 3535 Executive Parkway these days,
and wherever we gather is where our Church is,
because we are the Church.
Sure, we meet here in this chapel,
a physical building made of bricks and stones.
It’s like the dining room table at Thanksgiving Dinner.
The location may move from place to place over the years,
depending on how old we are or what we do for a living
or any of a seemingly unlimited number of other life changes.
Still, no matter where we are, the people we are with are our family,
by biology or by marriage or by adoption or by companionship.
It’s the same way with Church.
Wherever we are, we gather around the altar—
this Thanksgiving table—
each of us a temple of the Holy Spirit,
a living stone,
a member of the People of God.
The Spirit is alive and among us.
We are Church.
In today’s first reading
Ezekiel gives us a beautiful image of God’s temple,
a way to recognize when we, the People of God,
are doing what we should be doing.
He describes the temple and the living water that flows from it.
He says a river of life flows out from it, and
“Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes
the sea shall be made fresh.

Along both banks of the river,
fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade,
nor their fruit fail.

Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food,
and their leaves for medicine.”

God’s temple is known by its effects:
living waters,
food for life,
medicine for the sick,
goodness and kindness and mercy flooding the land.
We met again this past week
to continue our work to make living water flow out from us—
from these temples that we are,
this Church that we are.
We’ll spend the winter months ahead
planning ways to refresh the waters
of the Maumee River and Lake Erie,
to replenish the dome of leaves that protects our land,
to encourage the produce that feeds us and keeps us healthy.
We will collaborate with government agencies
and corporate entities
and community foundations,
and while we’re encouraging them and expecting them to act,
we ourselves will also act in every way we can.
As Pope Francis puts it,
Nurturing and cherishing creation
is a command God gives to each of us.
It means transforming the world
so that it may be a garden,
a habitable place for everyone.
We will work
to make real our vision
for the kin-dom of God
here in northwest Ohio.
The Spirit of God is upon us,
and we will renew the face of the earth.
We are the Church.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Vatican appointee ‘absolutely’ in favor of women priests Dennis Coday | Nov. 6, 2014/Is Pope Francis opening a door to women priests in the Roman Catholic Church?
ARCWP Ordination of Sally Brochu as deacon on far left, Judith Bautista from Colombia as priest Bridget Mary Meehan, in center,, bishop, Janet Blakeley on right deacon, Nov. 1st in Sarasota, Florida

"One thing we learned in October is that a synod of bishops, typically a staid talking shop that verges on the boring, can turn into to a robust round of discussions when the synod fathers follow Pope Francis’ instructions to "speak with parrhesia” -- meaning to speak candidly or boldly, and without fear -- “and listen with humility."
Judith Bautista, newly ordained priest from Colombia holds up chalice at consecration on Nov. 1, 2014

Perhaps the Vatican will experience another round of parrhesia early next year when Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture is to convene a meeting on the role of women in the Catholic Church today. The council will host a plenary assembly, titled “Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference,” in February for members and consulters.
Among the consulters is a Spanish priest, Fr. Pablo d’Ors, appointed by Pope Frances in July.
D’Ors is already speaking with parrhesia according to this report in Irish Times: “Vatican consultant ‘absolutely’ in favour of women priests.”
Judith Bautista sings song of gratitude at Communion reflection:

D’Ors told the Italian daily La Repubblica: “Am I in favor [of the ordination of women]? Absolutely, and I am not the only one. The reasoning which claims that women cannot become priests because Jesus was a man and because he chose only men [as his apostles] is very weak. That is a cultural consideration not a metaphysical one.”

Saying “the time is now ripe to travel down other roads”, d’Ors also said this “change is necessary” because to deny women the priesthood represents “an unacceptable discrimination.”
Community lays hands on ordinands at ARCWP ordination in Sarasota Florida
 on Nov. 1, 2014
Bridget Mary's Response: Sounds like Fr. d'Ors will shake things up in the Vatican with his support of women priests! Perhaps, he'd like to consult with Fr. Roy Bourgeois who was excommuncated and thrown out of Maryknoll for his solidarity with women priests! The times are a'changing!  Fr. D'Ors, I'd like to introduce you to our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement! Perhaps, you'd like to attend one of our ordinations in the coming year to prepare you for your upcoming consultation! 

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

"You are God's Building", Homily on the Feast of St. John Lateran's Basilica by Rev. Judy Lee, RCWP

“The basilica of Saint John Lateran was built under pope Melchiade (311-314), it’s the most ancient church in the world. Due to the fact that the pope is also the bishop of Rome, Saint John in Lateran – being seat of the bishop’s residence – is also Rome’s Cathedral.”
This Sunday our weekly celebrations in Ordinary Time are suspended to celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. This church is considered by the Roman Church the ‘mother church of Christendom’, dedicated in Rome on November 9th, 324 CE. Unlike many other early churches it has withstood invasions, vandals, storms and time. Its endurance through history sets it apart but other churches may claim even earlier ‘mother church status’. For example, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt claims to be standing on the site of the church founded by St. Mark the Evangelist in 60 CE. This represents the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, predating the founding of the Roman church. And in Jerusalem where it all began, sites of churches date back to the crucifixion and the empty grave,ie. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
In Bethlehem there is a church,The Church of The Nativity, built over a cave where animals would have been stabled, thought to be the humble birth place of Jesus, though no site in the Holy Land is undisputed.  I remember,to the surprise of my friends and my own surprise at an experience of involuntarily falling to my knees to pray in this church at the opening of this cave. I did not at all expect it to be a place of call and reaffirmation of my faith,yet it was. I would have expected that more at the River Jordan or Golgotha, or the tomb, if at all. But we do not really choose such experiences.
Many pilgrims  love to seek out holy places feeling perhaps a thin wall there between us and the presence of God. I took a Zionist tour with a dear friend through Israel in the early 1980’s when many beautiful Jewish holy places were visited, including the West Wall of the Temple destroyed in 70 CE. Jews were carefully guided as they approached this holy place to pray and place petitions in the wall. The very wall was thought to have retained the presence and power of God. We later toured the Christian holy places on our own. I remember the cacophony of noise as priests of various Christian persuasions loudly clamored for us to visit their section of the majorchurches.They depended on the money charged and the tips made in the church even as the high priests in Jesus’ day depended on the fees and meat from the sacrifice of animals. I could viscerally understand Jesus’ revulsion at the commercial ventures in the Temple of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem itself was a polyglot cry of prayer that sounded almost competitive as Muslims, Christians and Jews called upon God. I preferred sitting quietly in awe at the side of the vast ” Sea of Galilee’,climbing to the Mount of the Beatitudes, and standing in the blanched remains of the ancient temple in Capernaum/Capharnum where Jesus was known to live and preach. And here in Fort Myers, I prefer to pray standing at the edge of my little lake so full of life or visiting the  nearby Gulf of Mexico.
Some people seek large and beautiful cathedrals like Notre Dame or Chartres or St. Patrick’s Cathedral to feel God’s presence. Some are happy to see the gold and silver that adorn the altars and drape around the priests in some churches feeling that God deserves the best we have to offer.But is this finery the best we have to offer?  Others find God in the out door cathedral of the mountains or the sea at sunrise or sunset. Some are repelled by this show of wealth when so many are hungry. Some find God while serving in the Soup Kitchen or hospice. With Pope Francis we may see God in simplicity. When we took our youth group to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. they had mixed reactions. Our young man,Keeron, and one of our young women,Jolinda, could not translate it into church. The boy just turned off. He was also angry at the suggested donation for lighting a candle, rightly complaining that it should never cost money to pray.  The girls looked carefully at the diversity in the statues and marveled at the beautiful statues and paintings, but Jolinda was overwhelmed. She said “Pastor Judy, I like our church better. It is like our home. This could never be anyone’s home.”  Her older sister said, “it’s more like a museum” while her younger sister said she liked it because it was beautiful.
But the church is not a building and Jesus showed us that God’s presence could not be contained in a building. We can love and remember places where we first worshiped in truth or first met Christ. I still love to go back to Bethany Methodist Church in Brooklyn and St. Michaels’ RC church in Hartford where I met God and God’s people in a special way. I feel surrounded by saints present and gone before in both places and now in our own small church in Fort Myers. Even when the people are not there, the very walls and floors where we worship are holy.  I loved visiting the churches in the Holy Land. Some love the churches of Rome and some love the holy wells and holy places of Ireland, Wales, Lourdes, Ethiopia, Egypt, India and else where. Wherever we meet God or recognize God within us and among us it is a holy place. We do not need to prove which is really the first or Mother church, or worse, the “real” church of Christ.
I love Paul’s wording in his letter to the Corinthians(1 Cor 3:9c,17) “”Brothers and sisters: You are God’s building”….””the temple of God, which you are,is holy”. For Paul each one who follows Christ and all of us together throughout time become the body of Christ-the church.
In the Gospel of the day, John 2:13-22 Jesus passionately cleanses the Temple and then relocates the temple in himself, saying if they kill him, he will rise again in three days-all acts of revolutionary courage and enough to get him killed. And in his living, his teaching and healing, his dying and his rising, the church was born.
Let us look at the readings of the day as they appear in our liturgy:
Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12 -the water flowed from the Temple giving abundant life everywhere
Psalm 46 R. The waters of the River gladden the City of God,the holy dwelling of the Most High
I Cor.3:9c-11,16-17 You are God’s Building , the Spirit of God dwells in you-holy you
HOLY GROUND            Alleluia…  the Gospel    John 2: 13-22
“He drove them all out of the Temple area with the sheep and the oxen….and doves…and he said take these out of here…” Jesus loved the Temple. We see him in the Temple astounding the elders and being about his Parent’s business at twelve. We see him in Nazareth reading the Temple scrolls from Isaiah saying ‘the Spirit of God is upon me, for I am anointed to preach good news to the poor… and this day this prophecy is fulfilled”. We often see him preaching in the Temples in Galilee and in Jerusalem. He knew well the rituals of his people and the Scripture we read from Ezekiel 47 that helps us picture the living waters that bring life flowing from the side of the temple. (Later interpreted as the water and blood from his side on the cross). Along the banks of the river growth flourished-“Their fruit shall serve for food and their leaves for medicine”. Nourishment and healing flow from the living water of the temple, flow from the presence of God.  The writer of John writes that Jesus referred to himself as the temple in this Gospel text. Jesus the Christ became that temple, and we too become, through Jesus, the risen and living Christ, the living temple of the living God. We become the living and chosen stones of God’s building. God’s presence abides with us as the church. This is truly awesome.
Jesus even loved the Temple enough to try to set it right when it went astray. In driving the animals and doves out, he is liberating them and showing that God does not want animal sacrifice although the Temple has become dedicated to that,with the priests and others living physically and materially off these sacrifices.   God wants love, justice and mercy according to the prophets ( Hosea 6:6,Amos, 5:21-14). God wants us to love God and to love our neighbors,even the most outcast among them, as ourselves, according to Jesus. God wants our lives in service to one another, not our dead animals as burnt offerings, not even the best of them.  God’s house is not a marketplace or a slaughterhouse, it is a place where living waters, wonderful teachings about justice and love, flow (as in Ezekiel 47).  Life and healing blooms where this water touches. Jesus is changing the rules and the rituals of the religion. This is revolutionary. They will surely kill him for it. But he tells them he will rise up in three days (John 2:19). They can torture and kill his body but they cannot kill the living God and stop the living water. Let us pray to have the courage of Jesus and set right the wrongs that are practiced within our religion especially when it is tinged with privilege,materialism and the exclusion of those whom God loves but some in the church prefer to exclude from the Table.
Let us honor our lives and the lives of all of our neighbors as Holy Ground. Every time we worship, those gathered in our little church in a small humble house in a poor community sing: “This is holy ground, we’re standing on holy ground, for our God is present and where God is is holy”. For the second chorus we place our hands over our hearts for each one of us is holy ground full of God’s presence.Then we reach out toward our neighbors declaring ourselves and our neighbors as holy ground.  This ritual started when we worshiped with the hungry and homeless (many of whom are still with us) in the local park after providing an evening meal. Let us pray to see the face of God in all, especially those who are outcast, hungry and homeless and struggling to survive.  Let us pray for inclusion and justice for all. Let us pray to be truly holy ground revealing the presence ofGod.AMEN.
This is our church inside and out of the building -
But, our people know- They Are The
Building- This Is Holy Ground
Rev.Dr. Judy Lee,RCWP
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida

Seeing Like St. Julian Homily November 1,2~2014 Psalm 23 Rev. Mary Sue Barnett ARCWP

St Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic, said these words about one of her visions:
"In this vision God showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, and it was round as a ball.
I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought "What may this be?"
And it was generally answered thus: "It is all that is made."
I marveled how it might last, for it seemed it might suddenly have sunk into nothing because of its littleness. And I was answered in my understanding:
"It lasts and ever shall, because God loves it."
In this little thing I saw three properties.
The first is that God made it.
The second that God loves it.
And the third, that God keeps it."

 St. Julian, in her vision, is inspired by the Holy Spirit to "see."
Her consciousness is illumined, her soul is inspired, her heart is awakened.
She becomes extraordinarily aware of something that is small and ordinary. A hazelnut, which grows on a tree and is small enough to be held in the palm of one's hand.
Through her "eye of understanding" St. Julian beholds the hazelnut from the perspective of God.
She herself, a creation of God, is able to see creation from the perspective of God Who is the Divine watchful Shepherd.
For St Julian, the vastness of creation appears small, even fleeting, when one's vision is fixed on Eternal Love.  The enormity of humanity, of earth and of cosmos can be momentarily imagined as contained in a tiny hazelnut because Divine Love is all-embracing.
As St Julian says, "God made it. God loves it. God keeps it."

On this All Saints Day/All Souls Day weekend with blankets of leaves spreading across the city, cool air chilling our skin and radiant sunshine illuminating the neighborhoods, we have a beautiful opportunity to be touched with the gift of "seeing" like St Julian.

God illumines our consciousness, inspires our souls and awakens our hearts.
What does our "eye of understanding" see today?
For this, let us place into the palm of our hand Psalm 23.

The Psalm is the voice of a single human being.
The Psalm has been read and prayed and sung for centuries.
You and I know it.
These words from a single soul have universal significance.
This person has been to the darkest of places of suffering and yet is assured of God's serene presence.
When the waters of life become tumultuous, God stills them.
When there is doubt and lack of direction, God opens a path.
When there is struggle with evil and injustice, God pours out abundant oils of courage.

Today, the words of Psalm 23 are the words of our mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, student, child, grandchild, friend, colleague and stranger.
These are the words of one saint and of all saints;
the saints gathered here today and the saints throughout time.
In life's struggles and triumphs we have all said to God,
"You restore my soul;
in the dark valley you are with me;
you prepare a table for me;
you anoint my head;
my cup overflows;
I shall dwell with You always."
Holding this one Psalm in the palm of one's hand is to hold a universe of hearts echoing prayers to God in the thick of life experience.
The Divine Shepherd holds this Communion of Saints together blowing upon them the breath of holy encouragement.
God made it, God loves it and God keeps it.
With our vision fixed on Eternal love we see that God connects us over time and space into a single household of compassion that dwells forever.
Seeing through the "eye of understanding" is a watchfulness into our own selves as persons of truth and love created in God's image. Seeing through the "eye of understanding" is having acute awareness that we are made for holiness and that as unique individuals we are mysteriously connected with one another in our paths of holiness.
One person's love is contagious.
One person's courage has an impact.
One person's compassion heals.
One person's lament condemns.
One person's knowledge inspires.
One person's hope transforms.

Like St Julian, as human beings made of flesh and blood, our "eye of understanding" is deepened through our physical connection with creation. It is good to literally hold in the palm of one's hand beauties from creation whether it is a hazelnut, a seed, a leaf, a blade of grass, a flower or a rock ----so as to feel the softness, the rough edges, observe the colors and to breathe in the fragrance.  In  lavish touch we can reverently reflect on the flesh and blood saints we have known and loved, saints who have prayed to God for comfort, who have courageously responded to Christ's call to love and heal and who know they are kept eternally safe in the hand of God. They belong to us and we belong to them and together we dwell in the house of God forever.

Catholic theologian Sr Elizabeth Johnson says that All Saints Day "is a feast of greatest solidarity, a fundamentally joyous day that takes note of historical suffering within the overarching theme that the last word belongs to divine love."

This Divine love rings through the cosmos in Holy Sophia's words,
"Whoever finds me, finds life."

Divine love echoes from ancient Israel in Jesus' words,
"Rejoice with me, for I found my sheep that was lost."

And Divine love is shared by the saints gathered here today inspired by the Holy Spirit to see with the eye of understanding.
From human and divine perspective both, the Communion of Saints on earth and all souls departed are divine gift and will dwell together in the house of God forever. 

US archbishop orders priest to bar pro-reform Irish Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery from speaking by Sara MacDonald/National Catholic Reporter

Bridget Mary's Response;
On Monday, Nov. 10th, Fr. Tony Flannery will speak on needed reforms in the Roman Catholic Church at St. Andrew UCC 6908 Beneva Rd. Sarasota, Florida, 34238 at 7:00 PM. The Catholic hierarchy is the gift that keeps on giving!
This condemnation by the Archbishop will cause more controversy and draw many more people to attend!

06 November 2014 11:21 by Sarah Mac Donald
An American parish priest has refused a request from his archbishop to cancel or change the venue of a talk by the pro-reform Irish priest, Fr Tony Flannery.
Fr Mike Tegeder of the parish of St Frances Cabrini in central Minneapolis was summoned to a meeting by Archbishop John Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis, who asked that the venue of Fr Flannery’s talk be changed from the parish to a non-Catholic location.
Writing on the parish website, Fr Tegeder said the archbishop wanted a change of venue so as “not to cause scandal”. He also said that Archbishop Nienstedt described the Irish priest as “not a Catholic”.
During the 30-minute meeting with the archbishop, Fr Tegeder said he pointed out that Fr Flannery is a Catholic of good standing and has been, and remains, a member of the Redemptorist order for more than 40 years.
“To say he is not Catholic is to suggest he has been excommunicated, which is not the case, and in fact is a defamatory statement,” Fr Tegeder said, adding that he queried what scandal could be caused by adult Catholics having a discussion about “needed church reform”.
“I pointed out that the very issues Flannery raises are those discussed by the bishops and cardinals at the Synod on the Family last week: if these issues can be raised in the Vatican, they can be talked about in a small, little parish in south Minneapolis,” said Fr Tegeder.
In follow-up correspondence, Archbishop Nienstedt dispatched a registered letter to Fr Tegeder requesting that Fr Flannery “not be perceived in any way as being sponsored by the Catholic Church.”
Responding to the letter, the parish priest agreed to “announce this publicly” and said he would “have a sign up at the lectern to that effect noting that it comes from you, the Chief Catechist of our Archdiocese”.
Fr Flannery is currently on an 18-city tour of the United States talking about reform in the Church and his censure by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. The CDF ordered him to be silent after questioning elements of Church teaching including whether current understanding of the priesthood directly reflected Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper.
Speaking to The Tablet from the US, Fr Flannery said he found “the ban on me speaking at Catholic venues hurtful and offensive, but I get on with it”.