Remembrance and Ritual
Last week, we celebrated the Melbourne Cup. This week we have Remembrance Day. On both these days we have rituals that help us enter into the meaning of these events. Having lived in Melbourne for 18 years I can say that the Melbourne Cup is more than a horse race. It is one of the times that the serious city of Melbourne breaks out into exhilarating frivolity. Later this week we will honour our war dead by the solemn ritual of a minute’s silence. Only silence can hold together honour for the dead and the conviction that we must work for peace in their name.
Rituals are very important in helping us express and understand the movements of our heart. Our heads want stimulation but our hearts grow deeper through repetition. Routine signs of love can actually deepen our relationships if we do them attentively. As something is done over and over, the memory adds layer upon layer of significance. Our children delight in family rituals as they tell them who they are as a family. Many of your children will now be looking towards the things “we” do at Christmas.
For Catholics, ritual prayer is very important. God is so great and mysterious that we can only go deeper into our hearts little by little. Regular prayer helps us in our relationship with God. Ritual prayers, like night prayer, with your children are a wonderful way for you to help them grow in God’s love. Ritual prayer in our schools is central to our Catholic identity. But the greatest ritual of all is the Eucharist – the outstanding prayer where Jesus is present in our midst.
Loving Father, our hearts are so mysterious because they are made in your image. Send us your Spirit to appreciate the place of routine in our relationship with you and with each other. May Jesus our brother lead us into the ways of love. We ask this confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris