The photo above was taken earlier today at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Pictured here is the High Altar with its stunning reredos behind it. As I was preparing for the Mass there today, I was drawn into a deep contemplation of the images of the Lord’s Supper with the Cross above it and the two angels on either side.
The reason I found myself lost in contemplation, is because I have seen many Altars and reredos’. The majority of them (and they all have their beauty and lead to contemplation) depict Jesus as a Priest vested for Mass or figured as someone mighty and powerful. This image is full of humility. Jesus is seated among his Disciples celebrating the Eucharist that He would later live the meaning of in His death on the Cross, which is also depicted above the wood carved Last Supper. Here, Jesus is doing what His life and ministry were about. Giving His whole Self in humble service as our Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation. Jesus in humility fulfilled the Father’s Will. He did not lord Himself over them. Jesus served all of us with the gift of Himself. That is something wonderful to contemplate.
This humility is something that St. Benedict wrote about in Chapter 7:1 of The Rule.
Brothers, divine Scripture calls to us saying: Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11: 18:14).
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB