Beta Sigma Phi
A single yellow rose in a black
bud vase sits by a lit black candle in a black candle holder on the Ritual
Table, which is covered with a black cloth
We are gathered together in sorrowing sisterhood to consecrate in our hearts
and memory the life and virtues of a dearly departed member.
As she stood before in Darkness, initiate, so stands she now initiate to the
mystery of Death, and we in the somber shadows of our grief.
The glowing torch of her bright self must be henceforward absent from us here,
but the clear light of her spirit shall remain, undimmed, to guide and
strengthen us whom she preceded.
In life she was devoted to the good, the true, the beautiful, and was by color,
form and music touched to tears. With loyal heart and with unflagging effort
she faithfully fulfilled her duties here. Then, being weary for a moment, she
lay down to rest, using her burden for a pillow, and fell into that dreamless
sleep that kisses down her eyelids still. While yet in love with life and
raptured with the world she passed to timeless silence and to formless space.
So every life, no matter if its every hour be rich with love and every moment
jewelled with joy, must, at its close become to those who stay, a tragedy as
sad and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death.
But in this night of death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the
rustling of a wing.
She was a faithful and true friend, a treasure inestimable in possession, and
deeply lamented in the loss. If we in her lifetime were not always worthy of
her love, let us now in her death resolve to be more worthy of the love of all
other members of our sisterhood. Nothing is more common than to talk of a
friend, nothing more difficult than to find one, nothing more rare than to
improve by one as we ought. She has taught us it is best to live in time as
friends to those with whom we would be to all eternity, for true friendship is
infinite and immortal.
The record of generous life runs like a vine around her memory and her every
sweet, unselfish act is now a perfumed flower. Were every one to whom she did a
service to bring a blossom to her grave she would sleep tonight beneath a
wilderness of flowers.
Life is a narrow vale between two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond
the heights. But through the mist of our tears the light of love beholds a
rainbow, the rainbow of her virtues; the red of her courage, the orange of her
loyalty, the yellow of her vision, the green of her fellowship, the blue of her
humility, and the violet of her service.
Character survives, goodness lives, love is immortal.
The torch of our sisterhood lighted her way on earth, but she hath now no need
for sun or moon. But we have need to keep forever bright within our hearts the
memory of her living presence.
Speech cannot contain our Love. She was, she is, our sister.
Eternal Father, Shepherd of the Stars, guide us that we may follow only the
Good, only the True, only the Beautiful. Hold aloft to us the guiding torch of
wisdom and help us to push on, undaunted, towards its light. Illume our souls
with Thy wisdom that we in turn may light the way for those who follow us. If
the road we take seems obscured in dust, give us the skill and grace to pave it
with stars, to transmute the dust into stardust. Grant us such clearness of
vision, such sweetness of spirit, such earnestness of purpose that we may
follow the torch to our goal.
May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent one from the other.