• David Carlson

964: It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

Day 964: Saturday, November 5, 2022

I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.


Keeping Faith with our Ancestors: Part of One Body


Humans throughout history have often had a strong appreciation for and connection with their ancestors. I think the collective notion of oneness is what Christians were trying to verbalize when they made a late addition to the ancient Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the communion of saints.”



They were offering us the idea that the dead are at one with the living, whether they’re our direct ancestors, the saints in glory, or even the so-called souls in purgatory.


Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (1926–2022) wrote of experiencing a tender oneness with his mother in a dream and in nature:


The day my mother died, I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut of my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother.



I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear.


I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.


I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet . . . wonderful!


Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine alone but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. These feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil. [1]


Father Richard continues:


The whole thing, all of life, is one, just at different stages, all of it loved corporately by God (and, one hopes, by us). Within this worldview, we are saved not by being privately perfect, but by being “part of the body,” humble links in the great chain of history.



This view echoes the biblical concept of a covenant love that was granted to the Jewish people as a whole and never just to one individual like Abraham, Noah, or David.



References:


[1] Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life (New York: Riverhead Books, 2002), 5–6.


Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe (New York: Convergent, 2019), 163–164.




Upcoming Events:

A Conversation with Diarmuid O'Murchu for Emmaus

Thursday, November 10, 2022

1:00 - 3:00 PM


In Person: Knox Presbyterian & Thanksgiving Lutheran Churches 1650 W. Third St. Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Join the Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5193158573

Passcode: 1234

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573 One tap mobile +16699006833,,5193158573# US (San Jose)

Please bring your questions for Diarmuid



Public Celebration with Diarmuid O'Murchu

Next Sunday November 13, 2022

We begin with a lecture by Diarmuid FROM 2:30 - 3:30

Followed by our liturgy at 3:45

Potluck after the liturgy


In Person: Knox Presbyterian & Thanksgiving Lutheran Churches 1650 W. Third St. Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Join us on Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5193158573

Passcode: 1234

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573 One tap mobile +16699006833,,5193158573# US (San Jose)

Middle East Children's Alliance Holiday Crafts Bazaar November 19, 2022

10am - 6pm

Location: MECA Offices at 1101 Eighth Street, Suite 100

Berkeley, CA 94710 US


More Information: Phone: (510) 548-0542 Fax: (510) 548-0543 Email meca@mecaforpeace.org









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