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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Modern Apostles.


We greet you Spirit of the North.

Teach us to plant our feet securely on the earth and to see things as they really are, that the coming of your Spirit may find us standing firm in integrity. Teach us, Spirit of the North, in the solitude of winter, to wait in darkness with the sleeping earth, believing that we, like the earth, already hold within ourselves the seeds of new life.

ALL: May the deep peace of mercy be on us forgiving us, beckoning us, encouraging us; and may our readiness to forgive calm the fears.

We greet you, O Spirit of the East.
Awaken in us with each day, new hopes, new dreams of colors, loves and joys never before imagined. Fill our bodies with your breath, invigorate us. Carry us to the farthest mountains and beyond. In-spirit us that we might reach out to you boldly to grasp the miracles that are given birth with each new dawn.

ALL: May the deep peace of compassion be on us holding us close when we are weary, hurt and alone; and may we be the warm hands and warm eyes of compassion when people reach out to us in need.

We greet you Spirit of the South.
You bring the winds of summer and breathe on us the warmth of the sun to sooth [sic] and heal our bodies and our spirits. Quicken us, draw us by the urgings of your warm breath to break through the soil of our own barrenness and fear. Teach us to hold sacred the memory of the spring rains that we might have the strength to withstand the heat of the day, and not become parched and narrow in our love. Lead us to accept fatigue with resignation, knowing that life is not to be rushed, that there is no flower of the field that grows from seed to blossom in a single day.

All: May the deep peace of gentleness be on us caressing us with sunlight, rain and wind; may tenderness shine through us to warm all who are hurt and lonely.

We greet you Spirit of the West.
Cool our hot and tired bodies, refresh and bring laughter to our hearts. It is you who usher in the setting sun. Guide our steps at the end of day; keep us safe from evil. Fill us with your peace as you enfold us with your great mystery of night that we might rest securely In your arms until morning call us forth again.

ALL: May the deep blessing of peace be on us stilling our hearts that have fear and doubt and confusion within them; and may peace cover us and all those who are troubled and anxious. May we be peacemakers.

We greet you, Great Spirit of the Earth.
It was from you we came as from a Mother; you nourish us still and give us shelter.
Teach us to walk softly on your lands, to use with care your gifts, to love with tenderness all our brothers and sisters who have been born of your goodness. And when the day comes when you call us back to yourself, help us to return to you as a friend, to find ourselves embraced, encircled and enfolded in your arms.

ALL: May the deep peace of community arise from within us, drawing us ever nearer, speaking to us of unity, true community where distinctions of persons is also oneness in being.

My, those Episcopalians get a little nuttier every day, eh?


If the link above is no longer working, take a look at the URL. Yep--the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Of course, the usual Diocesan Smarmmaster™ Explanation, Not Apology, has been offered up. Yeesh. These guys are beginning to defy parody.

First thought? Better--far, far better--to be an honest pagan than a jaded Catholic dabbler pretending to be one. I mean, at some level, I certainly can understand the attraction: believe you me, there's been more than a few occasions where I'd love to have been tasked with bearing a dagger at a Catholic parish.


Where was I? Ah, yes--to continue.

But the second thought was this: Have you no faith whatsoever?

Think about it for a moment. The directional prayer was (somehow) part of a ceremony to acknowledge and atone for the sexual abuse of children by priests of the Church.

And this is what they came up with. In the 3500 year storehouse that is the patrimony of Catholicism, they couldn't come up with anything else.

Not something from the Psalms, which reverberate with unjust suffering, the seeming triumphs of the wicked, the rage at injustice and promise the justice and help of God in trials?

Not something from the prophets, which resound with the same themes, promise that God has not and will not abandon us, and assure a greater future?

Nothing from the saints, many of whom suffered at the hands of Church authorities?

Not even, say, a reference to the suffering, consoling Redeemer who shares our agony and outrage, and offers ultimate justice and healing? Nope?

I'd say someone doesn't have the courage of their alleged convictions.

What the prayer tells the victims is this:

"We got nothing. Squat. Bupkis. We don't have the faintest confidence that Christ has anything to offer you, so we have to rip off something from another religion and offer that to you instead. If you actually want help from Catholicism--well, sorry.


And these are the folks leading the Church into the third millenium? Ah, the thrill of confidence fills me again! Reminds me of the bumper sticker:

Don't follow me--I'm lost, too!

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