Dear Friends,

As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent, our readings mesh movingly with our practice at The Spirit of Life Community to celebrate a Communal Service of Reconciliation one Sunday during Advent and Lent. Reminiscent of John the Baptist in our Advent readings calling laborers to be the best

laborers they can be, this rite of reconciliation invites us to reflect on how in the midst of the hurry of the season, we can center ourselves and remember what is really important. We ask ourselves: How can I be the best I can be? For God? For others? For myself? We share this moment of Communal Reflection, Confession and Absolution for your Advent growing in being the best that you can be.

Communal Celebration of Reconciliation: Touchstones of Transformation:

We reflect on what we have done and what we have left undone:

"This is what Yahweh asks of you, only this:

To act justly, to love tenderly

and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

How well have I lived this?

In what ways might I have lived this more fully?

"When did I see hungry and feed you, a stranger and take you in, sick or in prison and visit you? When you did it to these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me." (Matthew 25: 37-40.)

How responsive have I been to the needs of others?

What more might I do?

"Every human being is granted one more chance, one more opportunity to start life all over again. Just as God has the power to begin , we have the power to continue by beginning again and again." (Elie Wiesel)

In what ways do I give up on myself or others too easily?

Where could I give myself or others a new chance to begin?

"Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth: 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that: It lights the whole sky. (Hafiz)

In what ways do I keep track of blessings or failures and compare myself to others?

In what ways do I bring light into my world?

Communal Confession:

Gracious and merciful God, we come before you aware of ways in which we have heard and responded to your call in our lives and aware of ways in which we have not listened well to what you ask of us. In our humanness, we sometimes fall short or turn away from your grace. We ask your forgiveness for what we have done wrongfully or left undone and we ask your help in doing better. Keep us mindful of seeing ourselves and others with your loving gaze and open our hearts to more fully embrace your loving mercy. We make our prayer in Jesus' name. Amen

Words of Absolution:

Loving and merciful God, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we have been shown how to live with integrity and with a thirst for justice. Through your Holy Spirit we have been strengthened to follow the path of Jesus and of your Love. May your love and Jesus' example lead us to a deepening awareness of our connection to you and to one another. May our awareness lead us to choose wisely in all our interactions and relationships, making the reign of God evident to our world. Through the ministry of the Church, may we experience God's loving pardon and peace.

As we reflect during this time of Advent waiting, know you are most welcome to come and to pray with The Spirit of Life Community. As a community, members and guests of The Spirit of Life, find support and hope in the journey through time and body to deepen our spiritual lives, and work together to transcend our limitations and grow in faith. Our liturgies are not "cluttered' with non-inclusive language and messages that discount the dignity of all people. Rather, we are radically simple in embodying the "good news" of Jesus Christ... "uncluttered" by messages caught in the moral time warp so present in more traditional Catholic liturgies. At the Spirit of life... the call of women to ordained priesthood is affirmed...the sacredness of all loving relationships is honored and celebrated, and as Jesus did, we welcome ALL to the Table! If you are seeking a Catholic community where you do not need to mentally/silently "insert" inclusive language into your prayer at Mass, or lament that your children are hearing non-loving messages about people whose sexual orientation is other than heterosexual, or feel that your "voice" is not heard.....we invite you to come and experience life in our community. We are an inclusive and interactive community, where everyone has a "voice." We are truly a people of "justice & Joy."

With Advent prayers for you in the waiting and reconciling,

Ron & Jean