Special Blog: Upcoming Retreat with Diarmuid O'Murchu on Saturday, September 18th, 2012
Step By Step: Accompanying Each Other Home
A Zoom Retreat Morning with Diarmuid O’Murchu Saturday 9/18/2021
Time Table for Sept.18th
09.00 – 0915: Welcome and Introduction (Emmaus Team)
9:15 - 10:00: Diarmuid: First Input
10:00 - 10:20 Breakout Groups
10:20 - 10:45: Open Forum
10:45 - 11:00: BREAK
11:00 - 11:30: Diarmuid: Second Input
11:30 - 11:55: Open Forum
FIVE Minute Stretch Break 12.00- 12:30 Diarmuid: Third Input
12:30 – 12.45: Open Forum 12.45 – l3:00: Closing Remarks and Closing Blessing (Diarmuid and Victoria)
First Input: Life grows around grief
1. This is a helpful metaphor for grief (developed by Dr Lois Tonkin of Christchurch, New Zealand – see several webpages under her name).
2. For the Emmaus Community: - Grief as a personal loss - Losses incurred in the ageing process - Grief around the death or departure of Community members - Systemic issues related to Church and society that complicate grief.
Dealing with personal grief: dealing with it in solitude, in prayer (faith context), in general conversation, in deeper conversations, in counselling or spiritual accompaniment, through ritual-making, through work.
Losses incurred in the ageing process. This is a grieving process related to life rather than to death – involving: meaningful conversations around letting go, coping with limitations, health issues, misunderstandings, cultural stereotypes. Possibilities for moving on (the growth option) include: graceful acceptance, peer solidarity, new challenges, wise elderhood.
The death or departure of community members. For some members, the intensity of loss may be greater than in one’s blood family. Space needs to be provided for: recalling memories, marking anniversaries, holding gratefully the contributions members have made, fears around community depletion, faith-sharing around death and new life.
Systemic issues related to Church and society. The wider culture, and even Church life, reinforces a denial of death and a tendency to suppress grief through factors such as: Extensive fear of death and dying; the cultural addiction to get rid of death; institutional denial of death as a precondition for new life; the over-medicalization of death.
Sharing feelings and concerns around loss and bereavement
Some Notes on Dealing with grief and loss
a) Colin Murray Parkes: Numbness – Pining – Disorganization and despair – Reorganization
b) Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – Five Stages
Denial: Not wanting to face the reality of your loss. This may involve carrying on as if nothing has happened.
Anger: Being angry about your loss, feeling that it is unfair and unjust. You may feel angry at others, or at your loved one for leaving you, or angry at yourself.
Bargaining: Trying to figure out if there is anything you can do or change to make your loved one come back.
Depression: Believing that there is no purpose and no meaning in life without your loved one. Feeling hopeless and depressed. Withdrawing from life and the people who care about you.
Acceptance: Starting to come to terms with your loss. Beginning to feel that you will be able to live your life without your loved one.
Second Input: Accompanying Each Other Home
1. Being an alternative Faith Community today – prophetic presence and pastoral challenges
2. Theological focus: Serving the new Reign of God (Empowerment) and not merely the Church
3. Our predominantly older age-group – Becoming a community of wise elders
4. A community for the world – an eco-justice that empowers.
5. Creativity in Ritual and worship
6. Our ministry of befriending / accompanying one another – formally and informally.
7. Holding the sacred memory of past members.
With the focus on Wise Elders, what future thrust in life and ministry might the Spirit be calling us to?
Being a Catholic Today!
The virtues of the Catholic faith have been obvious to me my whole life. The world is better for those virtues, and I cherish the countless men and women who bring the faith alive. The Catholic Church is a worldwide community of well over 1 billion people.
North and South, rich and poor, intellectual and illiterate—it is the only institution that crosses all such borders on anything like this scale.
As James Joyce wrote in Finnegan’s Wake, Catholic means “Here Comes Everybody.” Around the world, there are more than 200,000 Catholic schools and nearly 40,000 Catholic hospitals and health-care facilities, mostly in developing countries. The Church is the largest nongovernmental organization on the planet, through which selfless women and men care for the poor, teach the unlettered, heal the sick, and work to preserve minimal standards of the common good.
The world needs the Church of these legions to be rational, historically minded, pluralistic, committed to peace, a champion of the equality of women, and a tribune of justice.
But under Emperor Constantine, in the fourth century, Christianity effectively became the imperial religion and took on the trappings of the empire itself. A diocese was originally a Roman administrative unit. A basilica, a monumental hall where the emperor sat in majesty, became a place of worship.
A diverse and decentralized group of churches was transformed into a quasi-imperial institution—centralized and hierarchical, with the bishop of Rome reigning as a monarch.
Church councils defined a single set of beliefs as orthodox, and everything else as heresy.
Replacing the diseased model of the Church with something healthy may involve, for a time, intentional absence from services or life on the margins—less in the pews than in the rearmost shadows. But it will always involve deliberate performance of the works of mercy: feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, visiting the sick, striving for justice.
These can be today’s chosen forms of the faith. It will involve, for many, unauthorized expressions of prayer and worship—egalitarian, authentic, ecumenical; having nothing to do with diocesan borders, parish boundaries, or the sacrament of holy orders. That may be especially true in so-called intentional communities that lift up the leadership of women.
These already exist, everywhere.
No matter who presides at whatever form the altar takes, such adaptations of Eucharistic observance return to the theological essence of the sacrament. Christ is experienced not through the officiant but through the faith of the whole community. “For where two or three are gathered in my name,” Jesus said, “there am I in the midst of them.”- (James Carrol in The Atlantic, June 2019)
Third Input: Dying and Rising to New Life in Contemporary Theology (Overview of Diarmuid’s Book: Doing Theology in an Evolutionary Way)
1. The Evolutionary Shift:
“We have been captivated by the spell of solidity, the fallacy of fixity, the illusion of immobility, the semblance of stasis. . . No longer the victims of unchangeable circumstances, trapped in a pre-given universe, we find ourselves released into a vast, open-ended process – one that is malleable, changeable, subject to uncertainty and chance, perhaps, but also, in small but not insignificant ways, responsive to our choices and actions.” (Phipps, 2012, 28, 30).
2. The Paradigm Shift
a) The Co-dependent Paradigm: Creation – Fall – Redemption.
b) The Imperial Judeo-Christian Paradigm: Creation – Israel - Jesus - The Church - Eschaton.
c) The Evolutionary Paradigm: Spirit-Energy – Creation – Evolution – Incarnation – Spirituality
3. Where is Theology Leading Us?
a). In the Beginning was the Spirit – inspiring the foundational Energy – ex profundis
b) Creation is God’s primary Revelation where the Creative Spirit initially co-creates
c) Evolution: An emerging story without beginning or end; all is open and interdependent
d) Incarnation: The Spirit co-creates in and through bodies, with Jesus as an exemplary communal model.
e) Spirituality means Spirit-connecting-with-spirit, the foundational meaning of all religion.
4. Dying and Rising as Theological Visionaries - Dying to childlike co-dependency and rising to adult engagement with faith - Dying to imperial subjugation and rising empowering conviviality - Dying to our allegiance to a Patriarchal Deity and rising with the Spirit’s creativity. - Dying to exclusive incarnation and rising into our God-given status as Earthlings. - Dying to the rigidity of fixed structures and rising with evolutionary flow. - Dying to dualistic splitting and rising to the universal oneness of the mystics.