Communion of Saints
Summary and Practice
Sunday, March 7—Friday, March 12, 2021
Together the living form with the dead one community of memory and hope, a holy people touched with the fire of the Spirit, summoned to go forth as companions bringing the face of divine compassion into everyday life. —Elizabeth A. Johnson
Living in the communion of saints means that we can take ourselves very seriously (we are part of a Great Whole) and not take ourselves too seriously at all (we are just a part of the Great Whole) at the very same time.
I am connected to the past and the future by the ligatures of well-lived lives, the mysteries of “beyondness,” and the memories and narratives that lovingly bind and support me. —Barbara A. Holmes
The dead have returned to the nest of their identity within the great circle of God. God is the greatest circle of all, the largest embrace in the universe, which holds visible and invisible, temporal and eternal, as one. —John O’Donohue
In the silence of the morning, as [my abuelita] worked, I found her at prayer—in silence and the presence of love for all of us and the earth. She was at one with the Spirit of Good, God. —Theresa Torres
We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live consciously in the communion of saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ.
The Seven Homecomings
The Seven Homecomings, a practice taught by Tibetan Buddhist Lama Rod Owens, invite us to recognize and honor our own personal “circle of care.” These instructions are just a template; let this practice change to meet your needs. Pause briefly between each section.
- Begin contemplating the first homecoming of the guide. Reflect on any being who has been a guide, a teacher, a mentor, an adviser, or an elder for you. Reflect on the beings in your life whom you’ve gone to for guidance and support. . . . Invite them to gather around you in a circle and say welcome. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by your guides.
- The second homecoming is your wisdom texts. [Reflect] on any text that has helped you to deepen your wisdom. These texts can include any writing, books, teachings, sacred scriptures . . . that have helped you to experience clarity, openness, love, and compassion. . . . Say welcome to your texts. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by your wisdom texts.
- The third homecoming is community. Begin by reflecting about the communities, groups, and spaces where you experience love or the feeling of being accepted and supported in being happy. . . . Where do you feel safe to love? Where are you being loved? . . . Say welcome to your communities. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by your communities.
- The fourth homecoming is your ancestors. Begin by reflecting on those ancestors who have wanted the best for you, including wanting you to be happy and safe. You don’t need to know who those ancestors are. . . . Also reflect on the lineages you feel connected to, like the lineage of your spiritual tradition, or tradition of art or activism. . . . As you invite your ancestors, remember that you too are in the process of becoming an ancestor. . . . Say welcome to your ancestors and lineages. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by your ancestors and lineages.
- The fifth homecoming is the earth. Begin by reflecting on . . . how [the earth] sustains your life and the lives of countless beings. . . . Coming home to the earth means touching the earth, acknowledging the earth . . . and allowing it to hold you and, as it holds you, understanding that it is loving you as well. . . . Say welcome to the earth. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by the earth.
- The sixth homecoming is silence. Begin by reflecting on the generosity of silence as something that helps you to have the space to be with yourself. . . . Reflect on how you can embrace silence as a friend and/or lover invested in your health and well-being. . . . Say welcome to the silence. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by the silence.
- Finally, the seventh homecoming is yourself. Begin by reflecting on your experiences of your mind and body. Consider how your experiences are valuable, important, and crucial. Invite all the parts of yourself into your awareness, including the parts of yourself that seem too ugly or overwhelming. . . . Say welcome to yourself. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to yourself. . . .
Now imagine that your circle of benefactors begins to dissolve into white light, and gather that white light into your heart center. Rest your mind and relax.
Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.
Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger (North Atlantic Books: 2020), 87–91.