Dear Friends,

The Cup of Our Life, by Joyce Rupp has been chosen by our Liturgy Committee as the book we invite you to read and reflect with us during Lent. You may have your own copy. If not, the Community is buying copies

that will be available, next Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent for you to take home and use for your meditation. You will see that Joyce Rupp invites you to bring your favorite cup to prayer. And so we are inviting you to bring your favorite cup/mug to our Eucharist on the First Sunday of Lent and we will bring them to the altar and bless them in preparation for your taking them home with you and meditating on our Lenten spiritual journey together. The book is subtitled “A Guide for our Spiritual Growth.” In the introduction, Joyce reflects, “ I have found the cup to be a powerful teacher for my inner life. the ordinariness of the cup reminds me that my personal transformation occurs in the common crevices of each day. The cup is an apt image for the inner processes of growth. The cup has been a reminder of my spiritual thirst. As I have held it, filled it, drunk from it, emptied it and washed it, I’ve learned that it is through the ordinary human experiences that my thirst for God is quenched. In the cup

I see life, with its emptiness, fullness, brokenness, flaws and blessings.”

Joyce’s preview of our Lenten journey with our cups can be put in tandem with this Sunday’s Gospel message about what matters in life. This reminded me of Richard Rohr’s reflection which we will ponder in our second reading this Sunday. In Rohr’s reflection, we are invited to embrace the good things that come our way and find God with us in the midst of the difficult things. We are “rich” in that we are never apart from God and are always supported by each other. Richard Rohr gives us food for thought:

Splitting Life from Death                                     Richard Rohr                                                         

Splitting life from death comes about when you first experience the death of someone you have known. Maybe it’s your dog. Maybe it’s Grandma. And your mental ego starts separating life and death. There are living people, and there are people who have already passed over and they are gone. So you try to manufacture a life for yourself that will not include death (read: failure, sadness, losing, humiliation, etc.).

Almost all male initiation rites insisted that the boy had to concretely face head-on this kind of dying. Sometimes the young men actually had to dig their grave and sleep in it for a night in an effort to begin to understand that life and death are not two, but include one another. If you split entirely, you spend your whole life trying to avoid any kind of death (anything negative, uncomfortable, difficult, unfamiliar, dangerous, or demanding). Much of humanity has not gone through its initiation or “baptism.”

That’s why Jesus says the rich man has an almost impossible task in understanding what he’s talking about (Luke 16). If you’ve stayed in this split kind of thinking—that your whole life’s purpose is to stay comfortable and happy, frequenting five-star restaurants and hotels, and never suffering any inconvenience—then you are going to put off resolving this split.. But at some point, you’re finally going to have to see that this is not a truthful naming of reality. You can’t always avoid the negative.

Many of the saints and mystics, like Francis of Assisi, just dive into facing the unfamiliar, the foreign, and the scary ahead of time. Francis called it “poverty,” which might not be the way we use the word today. For him it meant facing the “poor” side of everything and finding your riches there. What an amazing turnaround! Henceforth, failure is almost impossible.                                                                                              

Adapted from Franciscan Mysticism: I AM That Which I Am Seeking

As a community, members and guests of The Spirit of Life, find support and hope for the journey in good times and in difficult times, 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,

Ron & Jean