“Three holy days enfold us now in washing feet and breaking bread,
In cross and font and life renewed: in Christ, God’s firstborn from the dead.”
Today we prepare to enter into the Paschal Triduum,– one unfolding liturgy that we celebrate in three parts. Tonight we enter into the liturgy of the first of these three holy days with its primary focus on service. During our Eucharistic Liturgy I have watched with awe as parents have washed and dried each other’s feet and the feet of their children; and I have watched with tears as children have washed and dried their parents’ feet. This simple gesture speaks volumes to me of the profound example Jesus gave to us the night before he died. We don’t relive that night so long ago; no, we challenge ourselves to serve those that we love and perhaps those we struggle to love… just as Jesus did.
In our Monastic Tradition we experience a profound parallel to Jesus’ washing the feet of his apostles when we celebrate our Holy Thursday Meal and the Eucharistic Liturgy. The dining room looks elegant as it prefigures the Eucharistic Celebration. Our Prioress and Council, symbolic of the sharing of their lives in ministry to our Community, wait on the Community as they serve each table of sisters in family style.During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Presider invites our Prioress and Council to come and wash the feet of the assembly; similarly he invites them to come and share in the distribution of Eucharist.
This night Jesus’ mandate “Do this in remembrance of me” takes on a particular significance,– bread broken for the oppressed of this world — especially as we journey to the altar of repose praying with Jesus who constantly called us to serve the poor and wounded.
Is God drawing you toward the sacred triduum experience this year?
Sister Anne Stedman