"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
"O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek; To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."
- Prayer incorrectly ascribed to St. Francis
If you spend time reading about the life of St. Francis or his works, he is a complicated guy. He's the patron saint of all sorts of things - from ecologists, and merchants - two groups not always yoked together in unity, though perhaps they should be. However, it reflects a life and a spirituality of a person who existed across a spectrum of thoughts, people, and positions who were all rarely in clear cohesion and peace.
So, it's an interesting thing that somehow many people know him from a prayer that seems to simplify and condense those things for which he spent his entire life struggling for within and without. My favorite stories of St. Francis are not necessarily the ones associated with the blessing of the animals - though that is a grand and beloved thing. Instead, they are the ones of his struggling to find a balance between the realities - and uses of God and for God in both doubt and faith... despair and hope... sadness and joy. The times he was called to struggle with everyone from those in his own religious order, those in other orders, and at some point even the Sultan.* In the varying ways, he faced the challenge to be in the world and apart from the world. Sometimes in bold preaching and other times in silence - sometimes described with great miraculous divinity and other times with basic human feebleness - St. Francis faced the full spectrum of life and challenges of his time and represents many ways that we are called to face and embrace the call to be the Church.
That complexity and that diversity of efforts is something that we can also hold on to as a gift from St. Francis. It is also something that is reflected in opportunities at the Cathedral and through this Congregation. Below are several of those opportunities - most notably the congregational retreat scheduled for the the end of October on preparing for Advent.
As always, if you need anything at all or would like to discuss anything further, please don't hesitate to ask.
In the meanwhile, you have my prayers.
* For an interesting read, I recommend the text the Saint and the Sultan, describing the exchange between St. Francis and the Sultan.
Congregational Retreat: October 28th - 30th
The annual retreat to Holy Cross is scheduled for October 28th - 30th at Holy Cross, with a focus on preparing for Advent using the text Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird. All are very welcome, but need to sign up by Friday if you are interested. For more information, contact Marsha Ra or see the website.
Mark Your Calendars
Sunday, October 9th after the 11 AM service
Second Sunday Celebration in Cathedral House
Saturday, October 15th at 10:30 AM
Diocesan Ordinations to the Priesthood (including Bowie Snodgrass!)
Saturday, October 22nd from 1-3 PM
Workshop hosted by Deacon Kent Curtis and others on preparing for death and dying.
Sunday, November 13th
Stewardship Sunday & Second Sunday Celebration
Upcoming Formation Opportunities
Wednesday, October 5th: Jewish Rabbinical Student led Interfaith Bible Study
Tonight October 5th at 7:30 PM in Cathedral House (with snacks!)
Note that we will be taking two weeks off for the Jewish High Holidays and will resume on October 25th.
Sunday, October 9th at 10:10 AM
Little Pilgrims program for Children and their families
Bible Study in the American History Bay with lay and clergy leadership
October 10th, 7:30 - Race and Religion: The Inheritance of Christopher Columbus
Over the next several months, several leaders in the Church and in the community will be coming to speak on work they do among different groups of people. To begin, we will be hosting Katie Mears, Director of US Disaster relief for Episcopal Relief and Development. She will be discussing approaches that empower Native American communities.
Children on Sunday Mornings
During this time of transition, the Cathedral in all of various parts - including the Congregation and those who worship here - are looking at how to be a welcoming place for people of all ages. This includes dialogues with any and all parents and volunteers as well as working to include youth and children more regularly in the services. In the immediacy, the Cathedral is looking to include children in the liturgical services each week, find welcoming places for them during the service, and hosting a program for children as Little Pilgrims, between the two services. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Confirmation & Youth
If you or your youth are interested in Confirmation class or in upcoming opportunities for youth at the Cathedral, please be in contact with the Vicar at email@example.com.
Note for Volunteers
I was recently informed that some people - either because of oversight on Volunteer Sunday morning or because of the scheduling - were not able to receive their thank you gift. More are now available in the sacristy or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.316.7456. Also, if you wish to transform your magnet into a pin that you can wear - magnet backs are now available in the sacristy as well.
Every day at the Cathedral offers at least three different opportunities to worship. For more information and for changes, see the Cathedral website. To get involved or learn more contact Mother Mary, Interim Pastor and Vicar.