Dear Friends,

This Sunday we will celebrate our Thanksgiving together. We hear themes of “Counting our blessings” or as Oprah would say, “An attitude of gratitude.” One of my favorite books of prayers

by Michel Quoist has a Thank You prayer in which he thanks God for a bar of soap and a hot shower, a good night’s sleep… Some of our blessings, like these, we might take for granted. Do we have the eyes to see everything that comes our way as a blessing? Before we can say thank you, we have to know that we have received a gift. Thanking God for these simple everyday blessings can also put us in solidarity with those who have less, those in refugee camps, those who live in poorer sections of our own cities. What and how can we share with them?  The poet Rumi, in The Guest House talks about welcoming every guest who comes to our door—“each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” In our present day, some believe we need to have “a preferential option for our earth.” Do we see what a gift the earth is to us? The colorful leaves, fresh water, countless stars, trees and gardens… How can we commit ourselves to taking care of our earth?

During these troubled times when we see so much suffering in our world, we are increasingly grateful for the many ways in which we are personally blessed. If you are feeling likewise grateful, we invite you to consider joining us on Monday, November 19th at 7:00pm for the annual Thanksgiving Service offered by the Weston Clergy Association.  We are grateful to have been invited this year to be invited to participate in the service. The service has been designed with a focus on the plight of refugees, and a representative from the International Institute of New England will speak briefly and an opportunity contribute to the important work of this group will be offered. You might like to visit their website: which in part states: “The Boston site serves refugees, asylees and immigrants throughout Greater Boston through a core of common services essential to our mission: refugee resettlement, case management, health services navigation, employment, education and literacy, and skills training programming.” All are warmly welcome!!! 

This is our week for our monthly Spiritual Discussion, and we are excited to invite you to join with us in a time of “Listening in Community.”  You may be aware that many parishes are offering “Listening Sessions” which are focused on the ongoing sexual abuse crisis in the church.   At the Spirit of Life, we are in a unique place as a community with most of us having been ‘cradle’ Catholics who may or may not presently see ourselves as part of the institutional church. Some of us feel indifferent to ‘what happens next’ in the institutional church, some hold deep hurt and anger, some keep a toe in the institution, some hope it explodes in on itself, some believe that in time, justice will reign. Wherever one might be across the spectrum of possibilities, as followers of Jesus, we are all seeking community….a place of justice….and we wish that for all people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. We wish it for our government….for our country…for people across the globe. Most of us were formed by the institutional church itself to value and to work for justice, treating all people with dignity, respect and care.  That very institution that formed us has fallen woefully, destructively far off the mark.   The first reading tomorrow from the Book of the Prophet Daniel tells of “the wise who shall shine brightly…and lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”  Might we in some way be a light in the darkness that envelops that church? Our world? Our Listening Session this Sunday will be an opportunity for us to share briefly and listen deeply to one another. Regardless of whether one sees oneself as ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the institutional church, our sharing offers an opportunity to give voice to your experience, and your vision for what justice looks like in a community, a church, a society. Our session will be facilitated by a dear friend, Donna Stiglmeier whom I (Jean) first met while she was studying at Weston Jesuit School of Theology and ministering with the Paulist Center in Boston (for ten years). Her vocation has always been rooted in faith to promote social and economic justice - sometimes affiliated more closely with her 3.5 years in Bolivia working alongside a women's artisan cooperative, and sometimes in the more secular arena - in community level social work to strengthen communities through collaboration. At the moment, Donna is consulting in the not-for-profit world while looking for the next step along her path.  Donna visited The Spirit of Life several years ago sharing her experience of living community in Bolivia and offering us the opportunity to purchase the items produced by the women of the village in which she lived. Please join us in welcoming Donna back to The Spirit of Life as she leads us in this sacred time of listening to the heart of one another. The Listening Session will be held immediately following our 4:00pm liturgy. Refreshments will be served.

At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound. We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us. Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world. We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey. We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life. 

Wishing you and your loved ones a delight-full Thanksgiving Day! 

Jean & Ron