Dear Friends,

“You are the temple of God” we hear in one of the prescribed readings for this Sunday. In pondering the image of our bodies as ‘temples’...a vision contrary to what many of us were taught as children, a mystic

wise woman of our times, Jan Phillips, offers a vision which feels more in keeping with the scriptural message, then the interpreted message we received as young ones.

Many of us will probably resonate with Jan’s observation that, after hearing that our bodies were temples of God, houses of the Holy Spirit, and that within our being there was a spark of the Divine, we came to hear a different message. The teaching of religion and of our culture sent a very clear message that mind was more to be valued than body, that disembodied love was valued over embodied love, that one had to be careful not to indulge pleasures of the body.   Jan offers a path to reclaiming our destiny as temples of God.  In her book Divining the Body, she writes: “The spiritual path leads inward for the beloved dwells there in every cell, like the oak in the acorn, the jewel in the mine. The great secret within us is waiting to be told through the living of our lives, waiting to be shared through the pleasure of our senses.” Jan also invites us to get back to oneness with the natural world, to peaceful full-bodied harmony with nature. We have chosen an excerpt from the introduction to her book, Divining the Body, as our second reading:

“We need to climb back into our bodies and honor them as instruments of our souls. They are the means through which the Divine takes shape in this world, crucibles in which the raging blaze of spirit is transformed into luminous thought, radiant creations, enlightened action. We are the word made flesh and through our bodies we are continuing the creation of the universe, physically and metaphorically. It is not happening to us, but through us—and the meaning we are seeking, the deep joy and passion we’re after, the enlightenment we long for, all of this arrives as we begin to re-pair what cultures and creeds have torn asunder.

“In the process of divining our bodies, we embody the Divine as the mystics did. We feel the beloved in every cell, sense the sacred in every heartbeat, every touch, every image our eyes encounter, every sound our ears behold. Transcending duality we shift from a sense of “self” and “other” to a sense of self in other. When we embrace the Divine within ourselves, it becomes natural to find and love the Divine in others. If we love ourselves tenderly, that feeling of compassion and kindness will seep out of us and transform every relationship in our lives.”

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. 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 timewarp 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. 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-inclusive 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.”

We wish you love in your heart and in your life. And, we suggest, that as an act of love, in the spirit of our “spirituality of decluttering” you might considering ‘uncluttering’ a closet or cabinet and donating what you do not ‘need’ to those who are much in need.   Perhaps you might find some articles of clothing or houseware items that a family new to this country would appreciate. Casserly House is always delighted to receive our offerings and to share them with their immigrant neighbors.

Loving blessings,

Jean & Ron