Collective Autumn Triduum Vigil
Today we find ourselves in the middle of the the Autumn Triduum. November 1st, All Saints’ Day or All Hallow’s Day, has traditionally been a day of honoring and celebrating the saints of the Christian tradition. This passage of three days from last night through tomorrow is also el Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a joyous celebration which recognizes the harmonious reciprocal relationship of life and death. This acknowledgment carries within it our ongoing invitation “to taste that in ourselves which already lies beyond death in order that we might begin to live from that place now.”
Yesterday, we chose to lean in individually and collectively to face some of our individual or collective shadow parts, of course in full knowing that this is ongoing work that is not meant to be contained to one day. This willingness to face unwanted aspects is in a way, a dying before we die. The self image we think we are or should be experiences a sort of death as it is born into the full messiness and complexity that we in reality are.
Having turned toward this passage of death to life within the physically living, we now turn our awareness to those who have literally made the passage through death, opening ourselves to the mystical communion of Saints and spiritual ancestors (whether or not they have been recognized by the church as such). This day we will lean into the ever present but not always in our awareness, reciprocal relationship with those saints and spiritual ancestors—such as Mary Magdalene, the Dessert Abbas and Ammas, Origin, Kateri Tekakwitha, Therese of Lisieux, Theresa of Avila, Howard Thurman, Harriet Tubman, etc.—who are no longer in physical bodies. Those of whom we can offer up our gratitude toward for the quality of lives that they lived, honor by the way we live, as well as receive support and guidance from even now.
If you are new to this practice, a breath prayer is simply a prayer that you pair with your natural breathing and is something you can do all day. It is meant to give your mind something to focus on, a feeling in connection to the words to arise, and a cellular knowing to take place in your body the more you breath it. Try these words, or make them your own by changing them to fit for you. If you change it, you will want to keep the prayer to around seven syllables so that it can easily pair with your breath.
Today try breathing in, saying inwardly “I Am” and breathing out, saying inwardly “always connected.”
Read these several times paying attention to what draws you deeper into the invitation for today.
A Poem for All Saints’ Day by Stephen Spender
‘I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.’
A Prayer Meditation for All Saints Day from The United Methodist Church
We give you thanks, O God, for all the saints who ever [honored] you
Whether in brush arbors or cathedrals,
Weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses
Where your name was lifted and adored.
We give you thanks, O God, for hands lifted in praise:
Manicured hands and hands stained with grease or soil,
Strong hands and those gnarled with age
Used as wave offerings across the land.
We thank you, God, for hardworking saints;
Whether hard-hatted or steel-booted,
Head ragged or aproned,
Blue-collared or three-piece-suited
They left their mark on the earth for you, for us, for our children to come.
Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us.
Bless the memories of your saints, God.
May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love.
Questions for Pondering
Who are one or two saints or spiritual ancestors (for example, Mary Magdalene, the Dessert Abbas and Ammas, Origin, Kateri Tekakwitha, Therese of Lisieux, Theresa of Avila, Howard Thurman, Harriet Tubman, etc.) that you feel some kind of a connection with, or would like to? How might you consciously engage these spiritual guides and companions either through conversation or simply enjoying one another’s company today? Can you allow yourself to receive support and guidance from them? Can you also give something back? What do you notice as you are present to this exchange taking place?
May our collective communal presence with the saints and spiritual ancestors in this way be guidance and assistance for the world in some unseen and unknown way.
A blessed triduum passageway to you,