Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Importance of Rituals

I have participating in many rituals in my life.  

When I typed the word ritual in Bing the following appeared:

Definition of ritual (n)

Bing Dictionary
 [ ríchoo əl ]   
  1. established formal behavior: an established and prescribed pattern of observance, e.g. in a religion
  2. performance of formal acts: the observance of actions or procedures in a set, ordered, and ceremonial way
  3. system of rites: the system of set procedures and actions of a group
Synonyms: ceremonial, procedural, ceremonious, sacramental, formal
Today I participated in the memorial mass for my friend Janet's mom.  Janet's mom, Diane, died of cancer last week - she was in her 80's.  I didn't know Diane, but I do know her beautiful daughter, her son-in-law (David, my co-leader) and her granddaughter, Jamie (one of my girl scouts).  So today I showed in up in support of this family that I love to help them celebrate the life of their mother and grandmother and to help mourn her loss.
This particular ritual took me right back to my childhood.  The church had almost the same carpet as the one I grew up in (except I think ours was a little more obnoxious of a red) and the different colored pews, beautiful stained glass that tells a story and so much more.  The scent of incense in the air was familiar (and yes that brand still gives me a slight headache) as was the tolling of the bells.  
So as I sat responding to the call and response even though I haven't been to a mass in years it was like putting on an old coat from the back of your closet.  One that didn't quite fit right anymore but had a wealth of memories. 
When I think about the rituals I've participated in over the years there have been many:  Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, Funerals, Memorials, Dedication Ceremonies, Girl Scout Award Ceremonies, Pipe Ceremonies, Smudging, Adoption Placements and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting.    
Rituals also make me think of my friend, Sheila's new book:  Warrior Mother:  Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss and Rituals that heal.  You can check out the video trailer for her book here -  As her title says, Rituals heal.

This week I had a dream about a soul sister of mine from Texas, Mary Grey Bear and I sitting in a pipe ceremony together.  It wasn't clear in the dream what the specific ritual was for but I know it was one of healing.

With all of the news and insecurity in our world this week I am feeling the call for healing.  Healing ourselves, healing our families and healing our world.
Even though I am not a Catholic anymore it comforted me and inspired me that the new Pope Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday over the situation in Syria.
On September 7, he said, people will gather at St. Peter's Square from 7 p.m. to midnight, while other churches hold similar community events.

"Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace" he said.
A gesture, a ritual, to help us heal. 
It makes me think about a bookmark I have in my journal that reads:
"If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart."
Wishing you peace in your heart today and always,

P.s. Before I left for the funeral mass this morning I found a peace sign charm - I held it throughout the service infusing it with love and peaceful energy before giving it to my friend, Janet after the service.  That was the inspiration for tonight's blog. -C

1 comment:

  1. Lots here Christine! Peace to you and to us all. Thank you for your thoughts about healing rituals. How wonderful that you were present for your friend who lost her mother.