Father David wrote dozens of daily reflections that he shared in morning meetings with the Emmaus residents. These scripture-based meditations, challenged the residents to align spirituality with the daily challenges. Father David compiled the individual works into two volumes. Some samples are available below.
Belonging: Carrying Each Other
Each of us at Emmaus is on an inner adventure,
Which all pilgrims on a lifetime voyage must experience:
Its called belonging,
Wherever we’ve come from, whatever our final destination,
It begins with dissatisfaction, isolation, alienation.
Its like you’re on a plane flight, and you’ve lost your luggage,
And your plane is delayed
And you don’t know whether its Thursday or Friday.
And you fall to the very depths of your existence,,
And you ask: what am I doing here?
To whom do I belong?
It may have been myself in Alabama
When I was about to get myself in hock for life,
Suddenly catching a swift flight out of town;
Or Annie in an advertising firm;
Or Linda at a Connecticut university;
Or Tracy, a child within, out on a limb.
Any of us, feeling alone, struggling with questions.
And on some scaffold inside us,
KNOW THAT I AM WITH YOU; I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU.
We’re forever tempted to grab at that one moment of pleasure
And lose it all; by self-sufficiency
And by the evil spirit of isolation.
ONLY BY SUFFERING WITH THOSE WHO SUFFER
ARE WE ABLE TO ABANDON OURSELVES AND RECOGNIZE ANOTHER
Beyond the silhouette of the moment.
WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER;
WE CARRY EACH OTHER.
And in this chapel,
And we are the church in this chapel:
Among us, there should be enough spirit of reconciliation
to move beyond our divisions and dissensions,
and let the church be what it is meant to be:
A LABORATORY OF PEACE, A PLACE OF WELCOME.
WE’VE GOT TO CARRY ONE ANOTHER.
We belong to each other.
We belong to God.
“I am the true vine”:
What does it mean for my life
That I am a branch from the vine of Jesus Christ,
That my life is grounded in his life?
If it is God who tends my life,
Why has God brought me to this time and place called Emmaus?
What are the things in my life that bear no fruit,
That just as well might be cut away?
What areas of my life needed pruning, sharper focusing,
So that they may strengthened, and so strengthen me?
What matters do I need to attend to today so that I may be more free to dwell in Christ, and Christ more able to shine with in me and through me?
For me, BELONGING means, first of all, to acknowledge
THAT I DO NOT EXIST FOR MYSELF AND BY MYSELF.
I can’t make decisions about myself and for myself
Without including others in that decision.
Because others are a part of me.
We are married to others,
And the essence of belonging is
CARRYING EACH OTHER VERY DEEP INSIDE ONESELF.
We should carry others in prayer;
I’m always a little amazed that in the Great Offering, the Liturgy,
We do not lay before God in liturgy and intercession
What ever weighs us down, in ourselves, in others.
I believe that the poor who suffer –
Those outcast, spat upon, tread upon – are closer to God
Because when they address themselves to God,
Their very existence is intercession, a cry for help.
The poor have a link to God;
They don’t need mental exercises, long meditations,
No need for retreat houses, no need fro concentration in leftover time.
They bear in themselves Jacobs Ladder;
Through God their suffering becomes a pleading for an unjust world.
So the next time we condemn the sinner, the outcast, selfrighteously,
We’d better remember that God listens to them.
I want to belong to that people that God listens to;
The people of the beatitudes,
The poor, the persecuted, those who mourn, the humble,
The pure of hear.
I remember when I became a Catholic in segregated Alabama.
I would attend daily Mass at the Cathedral in Mobile,
Before going to teach in my segregated school;
The Cathedral was segregated too,
Black Catholics had to sit as slaves.
I always remember this elderly black washerwoman
Who would come there her name was Mrs. ONeil.
And she showed me how the poor are able to carry before God
Even those who oppress them.
She would refuse to sit on the back row of
This Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception;
She chose to sit on the steps of the large Confessional booth,
visible to everyone;
she told me that she sat there in order to pray for
the people who were sitting in the seats,
because she felt compassion for those people who segregated her.
It was like Abraham pleading for the city, for God to save the city,
“if only ten just people could be found.”
That church has since desegregated,
But we still have a lot of desegregating and reconciling to do,
Reconciling in ourselves the purest intentions of
All groups, parties, classes, generations, sexes, sexual orientation,
Peoples, races – and only then does the CHURCH EMERGE.
The new community where Jesus heals people,
Barriers are broken down,
In which unity and diversity are both essential
In which all questions are not answered,
And all truths have not reached their full form.
In some ways, community is a terrible place;
All our weaknesses, all our limitations, our little egoisms
If you see a priest only at the altar or in counseling of confession,
You will only see an angel;
But if you live with him twenty-four hours a day,
You will also know all his limitations;
If this or that worker only came in in the morning and left in the afternoon,
They could hide their problems, their dark corners, their emotional blocks;
But if they live 24 hours with you in community,
Everything is revealed.
But if we can all feel that we BELONG,
That we are accepted and loved by others despite our limitations,
Community can be a real place of growth and liberation.
I’m not here to run a hotel or a nest of vipers;
I’m here because I want to love, and you’re here because you want to love.
Feeling loved is the real power of unity.
Look about this room, look about this house:
Do you see this or that person as an enemy or as a brother or sister?
One person can’t reach out to another because they don’t agree.
One person brings out anothers envy;
One person has a kind of moral hatred of another, as Jean Vanier calls it.
One person passes another in the hall way like a ship in the night.
WE’RE NOT EVER GOING TO BE A COMMUNITY
UNTIL EVERY PERSON DECIDES CONSCIOUSLY TO BREAK THESE BARRIERS,
STRETCH OUT THEIR HANDS TO THEIR “ENEMIES”
AND SAY: WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER.
If you can’t FORGIVE,
You don’t belong in ANY community,
And certainly not in the Christian community, in the Church.
I could not accept MYSELF with all my weaknesses and flaws
If I did not know FOR SURE that God the Father loves me,
And sent his only beloved son not to judge us, not to condemn us,
But to heal, save and guide us on the paths of love,
And forgives us because he loves us in the depths of our being.
Lets offer each other protection and security and solidarity,
Not cutting people off, leaving them alone in their wounds
To face really evil forces.
So then the two poles of community:
A SENSE OF BELONGING TO EACH OTHER,
And a desire that each of us be led into more light and
Deeper truth and peace and love.
“For Love is PATIENT and is KIND; love is not JEALOUS not boastful;
Love is not ARROGANT nor RUDE: love does not INSIST ON ITS OWN WAY;
Love is not IRRITABLE nor resentful; love does not REJOICE at wrong,
But rejoices in right. LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS
BELIEVES ALL THINGS
HOPES ALL THINGS
ENDURES ALL THINGS” (I Cor 13:4-7)
Ephesians 4: 1-16
John 15: 1-17
Be Compassionate. How? As God is Compassionate.
Luke 6: 27-38
What did we get a sense of at the Melkite gathering? Love, a people loving one another, compassionate, forgiveness.
The Gospel leaves no option. This is it, if you are a Christian.
Christianity is not laws and condemnations and punishments.-
Its just love,
Love yourself, love people, love God, love your enemy.
We are Christian and we cannot act any other way.
We are Gods chosen ones..
We’re here to love.
Compassion is not a sentiment, not pity, but a celebration of love.
Love shared is love doubled.
Joy shared is joy doubled.
And celebration is forgetting so as to remember – as in the liturgy.
A forgetting of our ego, or problems, or anxieties.
Compassion is letting go of ego, problems, of anxieties.
In order to remember the common base that makes anothers suffering mine
Compassion is what I call a feeling of kinship with every human person,
Compassion is not a sentiment, but making justice,
That not nice words, that action and doing
That may hurt.
Doing the works of mercy.
St. John says:
“If a person who was rich enough
Saw one of his brothers or sisters in need,
But closed his heart to this person.
How could the love of God be in him or her??????????
My children, our love is not just words or mere talk,
But something real and active.”
Compassion leads to work:
Praying….. All acts of mercy, Works of Justice.
So how can we love God?
Clearly God is to be loved through the pain of others.
Hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, in prison – these are
The realities of pain., for He says “I was hungry.”
When He talks, Jesus talks, about compassion, He is talking about giving.
Compassion is about not ascetical attachments or some abstract idea;
It is passionate and caring.
Everything Jesus did, He did out of compassion and loving.
Like Archbishop Raya told us, not as miracles.
“Have mercy on me” the blind man shouted, and Jesus did.
“Have mercy on me,” the Canaanite woman implored, and he did.
“Have mercy on me,” the father of the epileptic boy cries, and he did.
“Have mercy on me,” the ten lepers pleaded, and he did.
He was just responding with love, with compassion.
We have this “likeness of God,” “Image of God,” The Compassionate One.
Its one energy, one passion, divine and human,” Love one another
as I have loved you”
There is this new person in you, this loving, compassionate person,
This new creative being living within you, whether we like it or not.
An we must get out of its way and let it develop,
Or believe me, it will give us no peace until we do.
Emmaus is a place where people in pain get together
To share their weaknesses and thereby derive strength and growth.
Ego, big shotism, phony acting has to go.
We have to loss self pity, competition, resentment out the window,
We’ve had to quit this crazy contest for personal prestige
And do goodism and “charity” and start paying our dues
And see how capable each of us are of becoming compassionate,
Warm loving, sensitive, supportive people
When we realize we are truly compassionate,
We know we’ve made it,
We’re home, we’re home free.
Fr. David Kirk of Emmaus
Prayers for Others
RESPONSE: LORD HAVE MERCY.
The Breaking of Bread [artoclasia]
R 1. It is written that you were, the son of God, yet you were born of our people.
R 2. It is written that you make the many to be one, as you are one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
R 3. It is written that loved and reproved, blessed and cursed, grew angry and were sad; you were like us (and were most unlike us.)
R 4. It is written that you were snatched from a tyrant’s sword, you were a displaced person on the roads, you were often hungry and thirsty and homeless.
R 5. It is written that you resolutely spoke for the poor, and stood at their side.
R 1. It is written that you preferred an embarrassing word to an expedient silence.
R 2. It is written that you preferred sacrifice to proclamation, and modest demeanor to fame and fortune.
R 3. It is written that you came to teach us to live humanly and die nobly. (But perhaps you cam simply to live humanly and die nobly.)
R 4. And whether we are taught by you or whether we turn away, is our loss, and not yours, is our choice and not yours.
R 5. Since freedom is our choice, and slavery is our choice.
COMMUNITY: ON THAT NIGHT, ON THIS NIGHT WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER NIGHTS, WE REMEMBER…
PRIEST: ON THIS NIGHT which is different from all other nights,
On this night on which you alone, O Lord, can make different from other night,
Since you alone forgive, since you alone speak truth;
Since you alone bring us new birth and new life,
On this night we gather to break bread; Broken it stands for our condition;
We offer this bread and drink and the fruits of the earth to be blessed by you.
PRIEST: O LORD JESUS CHRIST, our God, who blessed the five loaves in the wilderness, and thus sustained five thousand men, bless these loaves, the wheat, the wine and the oil, and multiply them in this holy community and for your whole world and sanctify the faithful who partake of them: for You are the One who bless and sanctify all things, O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You and to your Eternal Father and to your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever.
PRIEST: Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever (twice).
COMMUNITY: The rich have become poor and hungry, but those who seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
You are Called to be Friends
1 John 4:7-10
John 15: 9-18
Tonights Gospel is a continuation of the story
Of the vine and the branches,
How as Christians we are GRAFTED onto Christ,
And alive in his life.
And when we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ,
We are again grafted onto Christ, to the very source of our life.
We’re grafted onto Christ,
But we are not yet Christ.
We’re just branches, and
We should be very careful
of demanding more than Jesus, the Vine, did.
The ONLY PEOPLE JESUS SAID “WOE TO YOU” TO
TO THE POOR, THE SINFUL, THE BROKEN,
HE GAVE AN EASY YOKE, A RESTFUL, NONJUDGEMENTAL SPACE.
When we are grafted onto Christ,
We are given the power and Spirit
To go and open up to our brothers and sisters,
Not put barbed wire around them,
But to make communion with them.
Relations between human beings and God are mysterious:
We don’t know much, about them, but we have no right to Judge.
But one thing is sure: if we pray,
And don’t change our behavior toward our brothers and sisters one bit,
Then we are certainly wasting our time.
John creates this chain of unity in his writings:
A unity and love from the Father to Jesus to us:
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you:
Live on in my love.”
And for John, love is not a feeling,
But a relationship.
And really deep love can be seen as
Laying down ones life for one’s friends,
As Jesus did.
And the real test was whether you can love and forgive
“ If you love those who love you,
What merit is there in that?
Don’t the police do as much?
Don’t the rich and famous do as much?
Loving friends is a natural response.
But loving an enemy is of GOD.
If I can love and forgive the man who drags my name in mud,
I know that is of GOD.
If I can love and forgive the man who misused our hard-gotten funds,
I know that is of GOD.
If I can love someone in this house who shoots verbal bullets at me
When he or she doesn’t get their way,
I know that is of God.
The love of God, which we seek to be a part of,
Is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
If I say that I love you,
But I’m going to lay down the conditions, that’s not love of God.
If I say I’m going to love you
IF YOU THINK LIKE ME
IF YOU BELIEVE LIKE ME
IF YOU ACT LIKE ME
IF YOUTALK LIKE ME,
Not only I wouldn’t be lovin’ you:
I would be preventing love,
I would be blocking communion with you.
CHRISTIANITY IS A CALL TO FRIENDSHIP.
“Since God has loved us so much,
We too should love one another.
No one has seen God.
BUT SO LONG AS WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER
God will live in us
And his love will be complete in us.” (1 John 3:11-12)
I’m a little afraid sometimes of people who have a relationship with the unseen God
And do not seek the God hidden
In human relationships,
In the relating of brothers and sisters.
TS ELLIOT once wrote:
“What life do you have together?
There is NO life that is not lived in community
And NO community not lived in praise of God”
And W.H. AUDEN put is even more simply:
“LOVE EACH OTHER or DIE.”
Here at Emmaus we are searching
For OURSELVES, for the OTHERS, for GOD,
And all this is a journey.
We are forever “on the way,” not only on the road to Emmaus, but
Because Jesus himself is “the Way”
And you don’t find the Way in a day or a year;
It is a lifetime journey, a lifetime search.
We are just beginning to realize how long it takes
At 71 years I am just beginning to understand
What it means to be human, fully human,
At 71 years I am just beginning to understands
What it means to be a Christian, deeply Christian.
I thought I understood.
Service of Forgiveness & Reconciliation
Song: Lord I want to be more lovin’ in my heart/ in a my heart/ In a my heart
“ “ “ “ “ “ “
Lord, I want to be more hopeful….
Lord, I want to be more forgiving…
L: Lord, I am in pain;
This heart of mine is so filled with anger and hurt
That I am unable to be loving and caring.
I want to return injury for injury, pain for pain.
Before I can come to the point of forgiving,
And being forgiven,
Lord, I need your help, for my feelings are confused
And I so need to find some order among them.
I need to see how this separation has come about
And how I can take steps
Toward mending this broken communion, this separation.
Forgiving Lord, lead me to the grace of reconciliation
So that relationship which is dead
May be resurrected to fuller life
Through your holy, healing power.
LEADER: Since we are so willful… COMMUNITY: Forgive me, Lord
L: Fro criticizing others, no myself… C: Forgive me, Lord
L: For not taking care of my health…. C: “
L: For the times I have hurt my brothers and sisters in this community…C: “
L: For lying, deceiving, manipulating….. C: “
L: For my lack of affirming you, brushing you off coldly and inconsiderate… C: “
L: Fro gossiping, betraying confidences… C: “
L: For my envy, hatred, resentment, unforgiveness, jealousy, judging others harshly…C:”
L: For not bringing to you those areas of which I am most ashamed, my secret guilt hidden…. C: “
L: For my anger, for choosing hate over live… C: “
L: For being so sure I cannot doubt,
For being so doubtful I cannot act…..C:”
L: For remaining too uncommitted and letting others carry the load….. C:”
L: For being satisfied with being mediocre… C:”
L: For taking so much, and giving so little in return……C:”
L: For pretending we are self- made, self- saved people… C:”
L: For sowing discord and negativity in our community….. C:”
L: For disrespect for any person, and for disrespect for things that belong to all….. C:”
L: For impatience on my part and the impatience of others….C:”
L: Fro a smallness and narrowness of mind and heart….. C:”
L: We forgive ourselves.
We forgive anyone we hurt.
We ask the Lords forgiveness.
SILENCE: WE PAUSE NOW TO WITHIN OURSELVES
(Here anyone may speak and share sincerely: or to ask in silence…
To ask forgiveness of one or all….
To ask forgiveness for any attitude or hurt
To forgive oneself of failings and wrongs
To ask forgiveness of God…)
(Take all the time you need, speak out honestly)
L: Lord, we come together in your presence,
As we seek to forgive and to be forgiven,
As we seek then to forget the past and its mistakes
And to be united in love, again or for the first time
Lord, help us lift up our hearts
And help us to heal the hurt of our actions and our words
So far as we willingly forgive each other,
May you forgive us our sins as well,
And fill us with your healing power
All: (paraphrase of I Corinthians 13)
IF I HAVE NO LOVE, I’M LIKE A NOISY GONG.
I MAY FEED THE HUNGRY AND HOUSE THE HOMELESS,
BUT IF I HAVE NO LOVE, I AM NOTHING;
I AM PATIENT AND KIND;
I AM NOT HEALOUS OR CONCEITED OR PROUD;
I AM NOT ILLMANNERED OR SELFISH OR IRRITABLE;
I DO NOT KEEP A RECORD OF OTHERS WRONGS;
I AM NOT HAPPY WITH EVIL, BUT HAPPY WITH TRUTH;
I NEVER GIVE UP AND
MY PATIENCE, HOPE AND FAITH NEVER FALL….
Kiss of Peace
(everyone hugs everyone)
Let us show that we are at peace with God and with one another
Song: This Little Light of Mine
Liturgy for Peace: among people, nations, races
Priest: WE ARE HERE…
Community: IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!
Priest: (blessing with candlestick)
CHRIST IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
Community: WE MUST BE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
We confess our sins, our brokeness
PRIEST: We have been given life, but we have not live We have been called to FREEDOM, but we have found the burden heavy, the anxieties painful, and we have returned to our illusions, our deceits about ourselves.
Community: We have hurt our brothers and sisters.
We have failed to unite with our brothers and sisters to bring new life. We are slow to see the good in others and any wrong in ourselves….
(SILENCE as we confess before God or before our brothers and sisters.)
Priest: Then in the name of Jesus, the Lord Christ, who calls us to be human and free and whole, Know that God’s forgiveness is here. We can turn freely now to serve our brothers and sisters.
We reconcile- Kiss of Peace
R 1. If you are bringing your offering to the altar and there you remember that your brother and sister has something against you then leave your offering at the altar, and go and be reconciled with your brother and sister… for anyone who says, “I Love God” and hates his brother or mistreats his sister is a LIAR, since a man who does not LOVE his brother and sister that he can see, cannot LOVE GOD whom he cannot see.
( MT 5:23-24. 1JN 4:19-21)
(Kiss of Peace: everybody hugs and kisses everybody, welcoming one another to this celebration and to say that at this moment we are ONE)
United we can now say together:
OUR FATHER/ WHO ART IN HEAVEN
HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME/
YOUR KINGDOM COME/ YOUR JUSTICE BE DONE/
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN/
GIVE US THIS DAY/ OUR DAILY BREAD/
AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS/
AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS/
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION/
BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL/
FOR YOUR’S IS THE KINGDOM/ THE POWER/ AND GLORY
FATHER/ SON/ AND HOLY SPIRIT
NOW AND ALWAYS AND FOREVER AND EVER
The Word of God
R 1. The Lord says, “What do you mean beating my people to pieces and grinding the faces of the poor?” I expected you to yield Justice but the cries of oppression meet my ears. You build great estates and buy up property while others have no place to live. You push humanity into a reign of violence.
R 2: Sometimes I think whole world is one big prison yard. Some of us are prisoners and some of us are guards…..
(Bob Dylan, George Jackson)
R 3. But to the poor, Lord you are a refuge from the storm, a shelter from merciless people who are like a driving rain…
You will humble the mighty; the walls of theirs cities will come crashing down. You will then give the city to the poor for our use… Rejoice! THIS IS OUR GOD FRO WHOM WE HAVE WAITED! He is here! He will wipe every tear from your eyes. He anoints you to bring good news to the poor and suffering, to comfort the broken, and to free the oppressed.
(IS: 25, 35, 40)
Rise up my people let your light shine for all nations to see!
(When the Gospel book passes by, Christ is passing by: bow)
Sing before the Gospel:
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
OVER THE HILLS AND EVERYWHERE
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
THAT JESUS CHRIST IS BORN.
WHILE SHEPHERDS KEPT THEIR WATCH
OVER WANDERING FLOCKS AT NIGHT/
BEHOLD FROM OUT THE HEAVENS
THERE CAME A HOLY LIGHT.
Gospel of St. Luke:
Priest: Wisdom, Let us stand and listen to the holy gospel…
Peace be with you…
Community: And to you spirit.
Priest: The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke….
Community: Glory to you, O Lord, Glory to you….
(blesses with the book at the end of the reading, to which the community respond:
Glory to You O Lord, Glory to You)