Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Reflection for All Souls

On Mourning Those Whose Faith was Weak
Reflection offered at the annual
All Souls Concert at St. Joseph's Church,
Kingston , NY - November 10, 2013

Many of us have been consoled in our grief by remembering the deep faith of the person no longer with us. We may have observed firsthand how the one we loved and respected was carried through the dying process by faith in a loving God. Or perhaps the sadness of the day of their departure or the day of their burial was eased by our imagining their joy as they entered into the embrace of the God whom they knew and loved.
But my words now are for those who grieve the loss of someone whose faith was not strong; whose faith was underdeveloped; whose faith was long ago jettisoned in the face of great pain, misfortune or disillusionment. Preparing their funerals and burial rites may have seemed a bit off kilter because we never really knew how they were with God.

It was this way with me when my father died last April. True to his utterly in control character and while he was in Hospice care at home, he planned everything. At his request he met with the funeral director and pastor of the Episcopal Church where he would be buried. He wrote his own obituary, wanted no church service, requested military honors and allowed for only a few words at the burial.

While not a member of Gereration X, he could have declared like some of them, “I am not religious but I am spiritual.” I believe my father was a deeply spiritual man. Were he not, how could he have been such a loving and faithful husband for almost 70 years, such a lover and connoisseur of music and art, such a steady reliable friend, or such a faithful citizen of the country of his adoption? He often asked me to pray for him. But he was a pragmatic man wary of all illusion.
Where did I find my consolation if I could not find it in the sure knowledge of his faith? Where can we find some peace when we lose someone whose faith had not matured, who seemed to have no faith, or who chose a spiritual path unlike our own?  I found my peace in a passage of Scripture frequently read at funerals but little meditated upon:

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble…
I read this passage and no longer wondered about the quality of the grand reunion of my father’s soul with his creator.  In that reunion all has been revealed to him. Now he knows all about God, all those things he missed or questioned or puzzled about all his life. Now he knows utterly unconditional love.

Let our consolation be found in the image of God taking such souls to himself and transforming them into brilliant light. Where once their intellect or ignorance, their pride or their lack of self-worth, their self-centeredness or their frenzied busy-ness kept God at a distance or out of their realm altogether; now they have bridged the gap. All distance has been erased by union with God who knew their hearts as only God can know them. With this image before us we can say with comforting certainty, “Now they know.”



Tuesday, November 05, 2013

New Option for Your Holiday Shopping

RedNuns Open
On-line Shop
RedNuns Roberie and Scriptorium
Traditionally the roberie (French) is a very special room in a monastery;
the place where vestments are created and stored.
 Today it is the sewing room; a place where creative ideas come to life.
Etsy Pics Oct13 (34)About Our Shop

“We are contemplative monastic nuns creating handmade original needlework and graphic arts to support senior sisters in community. Featuring natural fibers; handspun yarn; traditional methods in quilting and writing sacred icons; recycled papers and attention to ethical manufacturing.” Specializing in knitted lace, hand quilting, traditional icons, original greeting cards.

Redemptoristine Nuns are members of a contemplative monastic international order. We recently went through a long period of dislocation and then relocation to our current home in Beacon, NY. Three of our senior sisters have come to need special care. This Etsy Shop endeavor is an effort to help in covering the considerable cost of their care. These sisters have been dedicated to prayer for the world for a combined 175 years. They deserve the best we can provide for them. Thank you for helping us in that effort buy patronizing our Etsy Shop – RedNuns Roberie.

The nuns creating items for RedNuns Roberie have been making beautiful things by hand since childhood. Our skills, styles and materials have changed over time. Our aim today is to feature handmade items with high quality natural fibers while giving attention to environmental issues and justice in manufacturing practices.

Thank you for visiting RedNuns Roberie. Be sure to click on any item of interest. A whole page of information will appear.

Purchases may be made with a major credit card or PayPal.