Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love... [Wisdom of Solomon 3:9]
They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of Salvation. [Ps 24:5]
[The] home of God is among mortals…God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more; for the first things have passed away. [Revelation 21:3b-4]
The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." [John 11:44]
"For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is "icon," "star," "hero," ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves. What qualities will be necessary to live a life of integrity, of holiness, in the twenty-first century? What models of those values, if any, have been raised up to show us the way to God in a world that is more preoccupied with the material than with the spiritual, more self-centered than selfless, more concerned with the mundane than with the divine, more parochial than cosmic? (They) are male and female, Christian and non-Christian, married and unmarried, religious and lay, pragmatists and artists, named saint by a process or proclaimed saint by the people who lived in the shadow of their lives. They are people like you and me. With one exception, perhaps. In their eyes burn the eyes of a God who sees injustice and decries it, sees poverty and condemns it, sees inequality and refuses it, sees wrong and demands that it be set right. These are people for whom the Law above the law is first in their lives. These are people who did not temporize with the evil in one system just because another system could have been worse. These are people who saw themselves clearly as the others' keepers. These are people who gave themselves entirely to the impulses of God for the sake of the world."
Sr. Joan has not painted an easy picture of a lifestyle for our time-limited journey in earthly existence. There are choices to be made and sooner rather than later though there’s always an opportunity for us to seek God first above all else, to receive a blessing from the Lord and a just reward from the God of our Salvation. It requires some dedication, some intention, and some transformation. Jesus calls us to come out from our self-imposed tombs and unbind ourselves from the temptations that lock us away from our divine endowment. In that release we can change not only ourselves but the culture we live in. Author Parker Palmer** says it best, [We] can transform our culture only as we are inwardly transformed. So, let us begin, again, together.
*Sister Joan Chittister, Roman Catholic nun and former Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA, an activist, author and speaker on a variety of subjects such as spirituality, religious life, peace, and justice among others. The excerpt is from: A Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God, Orbis, Maryknoll, NY, 1996
**Parker J. Palmer is an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is the founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal.
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY
Leader: ~ O Lord of Hosts, O King of Glory, in these times of trial and travail, strengthen us to arise each day with inner peace, purity of heart, and complete trust in You. Fill us with humility, humanity, and hope following the example of the Saints who have gone before, and the saints who live among us now.
~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, fill us with trust as You make all things new again, here in Your home among us. Endow us, who abide with You in love, with the perseverance to guide Local, National, and Global Leaders away from falsehoods and fraud toward the just reward of all who seek Your face. We pray especially for: Joseph, our President; Kamala, our Vice-President; Tom, Chris, and Lisa, our Members of Congress; John, our Governor; Matt, our County Executive; and Mike, our Mayor.
~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, deliver from distress all in anguish from illness of body, mind, or spirit, and infuse those who give them care with gentle and peaceful hearts. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need…
~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, as You wipe the tears of all who mourn, keep us all in the knowledge that death will be no more in the joy and gladness of all who live again in Your Holy City, the New Jerusalem. We pray especially for…
~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials…
~ O Lord of Hosts, our King of Glory, inspire the hearts and minds of all who lead us in Your church, who encourage and remind us, through Word and Sacrament, how to lead faithful lives by Your grace and mercy. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
The Celebrant adds: God of us all, Saints and Sinners together, set our hearts free from the prison of hate, the emptiness of self-importance, and the mindlessness of earthly privilege. May we each claim our divine endowment of hope, grace, and mercy as we strive to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand always in Your Holy Place. We ask through Jesus, our Redeemer Christ; in the Unity of the Holy Spirit; who together with You are One God above all, through all, and in all, for ever and ever. Amen.