Maundy Thursday Reflection

WashingFeet

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. (John 13:3-5 NRSV).

Up until eight years ago, I never participated in the washing of feet during the Maundy Thursday Liturgy.  Since that first time I had my feet washed and washed the feet of another person, I take part in this yearly ritual.  It is a very special moment in which all of my pride takes a back seat.  There is a tremendous amount of humility and vulnerability in having my feet washed and washing the feet of another person.  When having my feet washed the person doing the washing gets to listen a little to my own personal story of where I have walked, what I have done and where I might be going.  When I wash the feet of another person, I open myself up to listen to where the other individual has been, what they have been doing and where they might be going.   Feet get dirty.  Feet smell.  Feet may be smooth or calloused.  Yet, in that moment of washing feet there is an openness and an acceptance of God’s love for me and the opportunity to share that love with another person.

Among the many things that draws me to The Rule of Saint Benedict is in Chapter 53 On the Reception of Guests, he instructs the Abbot and the entire community to wash the feet of the guests.  After washing their feet they will all say together “God, we have received your mercy in the midst of your temple” (Ps. 48:10). Actually look up Psalm 48:8 in The Book of Common Prayer on page 651.  St. Benedict is allowing the guests to inconvenience the Brothers.  When Guests come it is their (and our) opportunity to put aside our own agendas and preferences and serve Christ crucified in the other.

What a great mystery to lead us into contemplative prayer.  Our loving God sees in us the goodness of Christ to give ourselves over in sacrificial love with Jesus to serve others in His stead.  As we enter into this wondrous moment, God’s love penetrates the deepest part of ourselves and calls us to union with God in purity of heart.

What are you willing to do today to serve the presence of Christ in another person?

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

See: http://www.cos-osb.org .

Holy Monday Reflection

Mary&JesusFeet

 

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3 NRSV).

I remember the last four days of my Mother’s life.   I was next to her bed day and night. The Priest from my Parish came to anoint Mom, but also to celebrate Holy Communion with us.  My Mother was no longer able to eat or drink.  The Priest knew that I needed the Body and Blood of Christ every bit as much as my Mother did.  It was a beautiful moment at a difficult time.

Mary knew that Jesus’ time was coming soon.   She knew that this would be her last opportunity to be as close to Jesus before His death.  In this moment when Jesus was about to enter into His Passion and death,  Mary imitates what Jesus is about to do, for Jesus.  She gives the most expensive gift she has in her house and uses it to love Jesus who loved her and all of us in total selflessness.

If we ponder nothing else today, let us ponder these questions:

What in your life is your greatest and most cherished possession?

Are you willing to give your great and most treasured possession to love and honor Jesus’ unselfish sacrifice?

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

“We mean that without an order from the abbot, no one may presume to give, receive or retain anything as his own, nothing at all–not a book, writing tablets or stylus–in short, not a single item, especially since monks may not have the free disposal of their own bodies and wills.  For their needs, they are to look to the father of the monastery, and are not allowed anything which the abbot has not given or permitted.  All things should be the common possession of all, as it is written, so that no one presumes to call anything his own. (Acts 4:32).  (RB 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in Latin and English, Chapter 33 Monks and Private Ownership. p.231).

See http://www.cos-osb.org