Friday, November 02, 2007

All Souls in All Things

Kathryn's amazing All Soul's liturgy reminded me of a liturgy earlier this year. I was asked to come sing for the service my parish does for those who have lost children (on the Feast of the Guardian Angels). Does not matter when (in infancy, adults, before birth), how long ago (last month, 50 years ago). To a mother now in her 90s, carefully carrying her son's photo, says something no Hallmark card can about a mother's enduring love.

Everyone brought some remembrance to place in front of the altar. Photos, baby blankets, a pair of shoes never used,a leaf. As people gathered after the eucharist to take their remembrances home, there were tears, and laughter all intermixed. And everyone took home a packet of seeds....brilliant a la Kathryn.

There is much to be said about liturgy and loss (and there is a wonderful article in last week's America on such), but I think the modern church (using the term encompassingly) has lost some of its "sacramental" sense in this context. There is something about embedding God's love in something tangible that reaches us at a deeper level. I still have the crucifix that was placed on my husband's bier, blessed as we blessed his body. It is a tangible sign of the grace of that moment, with all the grief, shock, hope and love still accessible to me in that object, which now hangs in my prayer space. I could touch it, even at those moments when I couldn't reach the intangible, the immanent.


  1. Anonymous1:53 AM

    “Care not where you rest this body but remember me at the altar of God” - St. Monica

    I'm also at an Augustinian parish near Philadelphia--Independent Catholic (not Roman Catholic). Our pastor reminds us of this quote every November and it always lends a special meaning to the Masses during the month for me.

    It's also good to see another person in the sciences (I'm in Neurosci) who has religious leanings :).


  2. Mmmm, yes. Blessed be!

    This is one of the reasons magic speaks so strongly to me: the combination of tangible and intangible that reaches us on a deeper level than either can alone. Immanence and transcendence met. (One of the reasons Communion always spoke to me so strongly, and still does.)

    I keep discovering, and rediscovering, in my teaching, that the kind of magic you describe here is one of the most powerful spiritual tools I can share with someone, that I can teach someone that they have the power to use.

    That magic is also one of the reasons I love comfort wrap (aka prayer shawl) ministry: embedding all those intangibles -- human and Divine love, warmth, healing, comfort, breathing, groundedness and centeredness -- into a piece of cloth that was made with intent.

    As a Priestess and Witch, what you've said makes complete and total sense to me. Coming from my background of Catholicism, Judaism, and Paganism, all strong mystical traditions, what you've said makes total sense to me.

    And I don't forget the magic in a cup of tea, or in a piece of good chocolate!

    Love and blessings,