Posts Tagged ‘Sojourner’

Justice. Love. Humility.

Three parts of a Franciscan Community of Reconciliation. Why does it matter?

Well let’s share a story that brought me to typing this now.

Mnay moons ago when I was still a student at SAIT, I went back to church with my Nan and Aunty Bert. In that process I inquired about prayer, and was given an answer that peaked more of my curiousity. As I had just recently started working at a bookstore, I stumbled across Talbot’s Life Lesson’s of St. Francis, one of the early works in my reading to shape my understanding of the gospel (this with the Great Love Commandments that brought me back into church began shaping, unconsciously, my ministry).

Over time I would move from a less structured spiritual formation to inquiry and postulancy with the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans, when I would serve in the Anglican church, I would transition to the Third Order, Society of St. Francis, to complete my postulancy, and two years of novitiate and fellowship with the RC Secular Franciscan Order (as my Dad would call us the shit disturbers of the church. A quick history lesson, third/secular orders exist as St. Francis realized not everyone was gifted with celibacy, and as such needed to go make babies, as he blessed Brother Leo to go forward and have blessed family.

When a new blessing would emerge, as my Nan needed extra help, I would rejoin her in church, and the great the barriers of church labels would halt my official membership in the orders, and would move forward in the work of living my rule for continuing to make my own part of the world a better place (which is debatable to some if I did or not).

There was times the orders would touch base about re-joining, but I did not have the right church pedigree in those moments, and as such nothing moved forward.

That has changed, with an ecumenical community out of the new monasticism paradigm, my life vows (24 years on from the first opening of Talbot’s book) have been accepted.

No matter how impossible things may seem, if you are called, never give up for there is a path for it to be light.

Pax et bonum (peace and goodwill)

And Jesus said to them, Behold, for you have toiled with me, and with my father Joseph, building houses for the homes of men. The masters call us now to aid in building homes for souls; homes built without the sound of hammer, axe, or saw;

-Aquarian Gospel 88:32

We found ourselves as part of the Universal Church of the Master Alberta’s book study by a circuitous route.  Part of it was curiosity of a more spiritual/sacred text orientation towards universalism, and part of it was a movement that was tied into the other realms (either energy or spirit). Unfortunately/fortunately by the time the wife and I managed to be able to try and attempt to get to a Sunday evening service only for them to be discontinued. So, a quick e-mail off upon arriving home, to find out about a book study on the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ .

It has been a great connection of welcome in a small group of sojourners discovering what it means to birth the inner Cosmic Christ. And yes we alternate around where we meet from one another’s homes.

During this time together a gift of books, foundation to the UCM. For long time readers, they know my passion for amateur liturgy making, so the first book I gravitated towards was Fitzgerald’s Minister’s Guide and Service Book. As I believe you can learn a lot about a spiritual community by what they decide is important for communal worship. The book is a product of its time. The UCM was founded in 1908 in the USA, and incorporated there in 1918. The guide is from 1955, uses some archaic language, and the universal terms are centered in the male pronouns. But if as an astute reader you can move beyond that, it taps into something else.

The break down of what Universal is here, truly is a gathering place for those of all or none religious/spiritual affiliations that want to discover something deeper, the communion with the Holy Mystery. There is time set aside in the service for healing prayers (energy healing work today probably), readings and communicants with the spiritual world, reflection/teaching on sacred texts and music. There is also use of prayer bowls to bring together the unspoken prayers of the congregation to be lifted in intention.

The service guide also speaks to the minister and other licentiate offices keeping themselves physically and mentally healthy, very much in the concepts of the time, but there can easily be reflections in this age. It was a bit refreshing to see a service guide that also took time to speak of the health of the spiritual director.

What was also noted though, was that with the Christ-centric viewpoint of the Americas one would assume that the “Master” in the church’s name was Jesus Christ (and the fact that another text that resonates is the Aquarian Gospel), as well there is encouragement to use the Bible, and Christian hymnals but mostly for the familiarity of the congregation. There is aside notes that any sacred text can be used that resonates with the speaker’s topic. But I digress on the point, the term Master is for the individualized master teacher each person has in their life, that is brought together in the collective health of the community. So yes, for many it was probably Jesus at the founding, yet today this term could apply to many in the vast breadth and depth of the spiritual world availed within North America.

Now, there is points where the American style religion shine through speaking of patriotism, and if I was in America these may be of more interest, but they were not.

The idea of a universal gathering, a true mosaic of spiritual-religious energy and learning coming together. Diverse. Multi-esoteric. YET…unified under one concept and that is moving out of the darkness, into the collective good that is the Holy Mystery, the path laid out, that is love actualized. Hmmm…unity in diversity, what a Canadian concept.

At least that is where I am at now in my understanding of the journey. If you would like to take steps on the journey, and possibly explore alongside I encourage you to contact a UCM in your area (or any other spiritualist, universal centre or religious centre that resonates with you on your journey).

To contact UCM-Alberta click here.