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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Remember I am away - back blogging on May 8th

Just to remind my readers that I am in California for the next 12 days and will be taking time off from the computer. Let is pray for one another and let our Good Shepherd lead us into green pastures and beside still waters.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Absence and Contemplation

I leave home tomorrow morning at 6:30 for a non-stop flight to San Francisco airport. From there I go to Redwood City to stay in one of our communities. On Monday, I will go with two other RSCJs to Villa Maria del Mar, a retreat house run by the Sisters of the Holy Names right on the Pacific ocean in Santa Cruz. I will have three days there and then back to Redwood City to prepare for the gathering with five of my group who made final profession in Rome together in 1960. I will be home on May 5. Since I want to use this time away for more prayer and contemplation of the beauty around me in California, I will not be writing my blog for the next two weeks. I will be back blogging by May 8th. It is nice to have this time away and I am very grateful.
This Sunday's Gospel is short and full of wonderful thoughts to reflect on as well as many theological truths. I am struck by the fact that Jesus knows his sheep and we follow him, but he is promising us eternal life and revealing the Father to us. I love Good Shepherd Sunday and will be praying for each of my readers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Last Poems of Denise Levertov

One of my community lent me a book called The Great Unknowing. the last poems of Denise Levertov. I must confess that I did not know this poet. I find some of her poems worth sharing. Here is a short one called
"Once Only":
All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every initiation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect now to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body-halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.

I think this is true, but we do need to relive those experiences that have given us and still give us joy. Sometimes, in the going back, the fire is rekindled and we are again in awe and wonder.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gratitude, Peace, and Joy

James Martin, S.J. in his book that I quoted from yesterday, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" say that "Gratitude, peace, and joy are ways that God communicates with us."

He says that the pull that draws us to God comes from God. Desires are important as they come from God and we need to heed them.

"The hole in our hearts is the space from which we call to God. It is the space where God wants most to meet us. Our longing to fill the space comes from God. And it is this space that only God can begin to fill."

I am spending some time now trying to get in touch with my desires; it is one way that God communicates with us but we need to examine our desires to get to the deeper ones behind what may seem to be a strong desire but is only leading us to what God really wants of us. I have always loved Phil Sheldrake's book on "Befriending Our Desires".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A God of Surprises Who Likes Suprises!

Here are a few thoughts from the book I am reading, "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life" by James Martin, S.J.:

God is both a God of surprises and the God who waits for us to surprise him!
Martin quotes Ron Hansen's great spiritual novel, Mariette in Ecstasy.
Mariette says that God still communicates with her: "We try to be formed and held and kept by him, but instead he offers us freedom. And now when I try to know his will, his kindness floods me, his great love overwhelms me, and I hear him whisper, Surprise me."

The beginning of the the path to finding God is awareness. "Not simply awareness of the ways that you can find God, but an awareness that God desires to find you."

I will have more to say about that later as James Martin has quite a bit on the Ignatian examen as a way of prayer; it is certainly also a way to be aware of God and his desire for us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

God's Irresistible Call Invites Us to Hope

Juliet Mousseau's article in the latest Review for Religious, "God's Irresistible Call Invites Us to Hope" really answers the question that all of us are so often asked: "Why do you want to become a nun?" or, in my case, "Why did you become a nun and what have these sixty years been for you as a nun?"
My answer is the same as Juliet's so I will quote her: "...I am here because I heard God calling me along this unexpected path." It all comes down to the fact that God calls and we listen and have the courage to respond. Sometimes the invitation is so gentle and the voice so soft that we hesitate to act. However, the call, though gentle and easily dismissed, keeps persisting until we heed it or refuse to listen. It is always a risk to leave all and yet this is the step that opens up an intimacy with Jesus that is difficult to describe to those who do not share that same intimacy. It goes back to my conviction that "God is all and everything else is nothing" - a truth that is a beacon in my life, but which I find hard to put into practice. However, the joys of religious life keep multiplying and, like Juliet, I recognize the grace and the blessing of this life. Juliet writes: "My clearest sense of hope is this: the call that I feel is irresistible. Once I recognized it, I could not ignore it. I am deeply and intimately called into a relationship with God, and I would deeply regret moving on with life without at the very least trying on religious life." I hope others will also hear the call of God to give their lives to him.
From sixty years of experience I can speak, too, of the fidelity of God. He is always with us. What a joy to know that we have a faithful spouse who is always loving us with an infinite love; who is always desiring us.
I have a link to Juliet's blog on the right side of my blog.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One of my favorite Gospels is this Sunday's

Today the Gospel is from John 21. Peter announces that he is going fishing and his friends, most of the apostles, all chime in and say they will go with him. They spend the night out on the lake and catch nothing. Then they see someone on the shore who calls out to them to ask if they have caught any fish. They tell him that they have toiled all night and caught nothing. He tells them to cast the net again and they obey and the net is so full they fear it will break. Then comes the recognition: "It is the Lord" and then Peter cannot wait but gets out of the boat to go to Jesus. In the meantime, Jesus has fixed breakfast for his friends. I think that is such a kind and thoughtful service; they are tired and hungry and probably cold and wet and here is Jesus on the shore with a fire waiting to serve them the fish and bread he already has on the fire and he is going to add more of the fish they bring ashore. Imagine how they feel when they, still rather awestruck with the huge catch of fish and, no doubt, remembering the first catch of fish that made them leave all and follow Jesus who said they would be fishers of men, come and find Jesus has not only prepared breakfast for them but wants to serve them. That scene is one I love, but what follows touches me even more. Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him and loves him more than the others. Peter finally cries out, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!" That phrase is one that I often repeat and I suspect that I have the same intensity as Peter had after having breakfasted with the Lord!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Joy is found in daily life

What joys we have every day, if we only stop to think of them. I thought of a few today that I will share as it is what comes to me; actually, I am thinking of the joys of yesterday which was an ordinary Friday with a biblical lecture at the University in the evening. I began with the joy of waking up early without needing any noise or alarm clock to wake me; then there was my hour of prayer, always a joy even when dry as I cannot always say I float through the hour but it is a joy and I do look forward to it every morning and often it is an hour and a half as I love to prolong it with a bit of spiritual reading. Then the joy of breakfast which is most always tea and toast with a bannana; during breakfast, I have the joy of reading the newspaper. The news is not too joyful, but I find that I can enjoy reading the different sections just to know what is going on in the world; then there is the joy of sitting at the computer and being in touch with friends through e-mail; the joy of being able to find a picture that I like for my blog and a certain joy comes from writing a reflection that has an audience all over the world and one never knows who might comment on the blog.
The morning passes rapidly; there is the joy of a hot shower, clean clothes, even the joy of making my bed first thing in the morning as that is a contemplative moment for me! And so the day continues with mail to bring in and pass and read and dispose of as best I can (sometimes I let it pile up for a day or two and then regret it). There is the joy of praying in the car on the way to the University; the noon Mass here that is always a joy; then lunch with some of the staff or maybe at my desk; the joy of computer games when I have deleted the answered e-mail or finished checking my course; the joy of conversation, etc. Now I need to stop, but there are joys at every minute if we stop to reflect! All is gift!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Signs of Spring in Spiritual Life

Today I began to reflect on how the spiritual life also has seasons. I think that Spring is characterized by new beginnings. There is new energy, a feeling of joy and creativity. It is a time for some spring cleaning; get rid of some of the baggage that we have stored and no longer need. I always think that, as our Constitutions told me even as a novice, "God is all and everything else is nothing", I need to get back to that and let go of my own plans and let God be God in my life. Spring is a time to sweep the floor of our souls so that we banish all the dust that collects so easily. It is a time to open the windows and let in fresh air. After all this activity, we need to just sit and remember that great truth: God is all; everything else is nothing."
Maybe I spend too much time trying to rearrange the furniture in my soul; actually, I do not concentrate on furniture but I do have a room where my memories are stored. It is full of drawers and resembles a large walk-in closet off our playroom when I was a child. The drawers held toys and games then, but my memory room has drawers with good thoughts of gratitude, happy events, people who have loved me, people I have loved, experiences of God, moments of suffering and loss, and even a drawer that is for bad thoughts that I lock up and keep locked! I ask God to empty that drawer. My imagination keeps things in order so my soul is a peaceful place. Now I am just going to open the windows and enjoy Spring.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Silent Spring Solitude

I guess I am enjoying some silent, Spring solitude. My community of five has reduced itself to two for the next ten days. I am happy that one is in Colombia with her family, another in Mexico to improve her Spanish fluency, and the third is making her retreat in another city. The fourth is at work. The house is quiet, clean, and neat. It is a perfect time for contemplation. I find that images help me to center and sink into God. That is one reason I try to put a picture in my blog each day even when not writing about anything connected with the Liturgy. Pictures of Spring awaken memories; the drive through the mountains between Vina del Mar and Santiago is one of my favorite scenes and easily comes to mind. What a gift our imagination is! God allows us to store all this beauty in our heads and find it instantly without having to look through files or albums! I am grateful for this and think that any beautiful scene inspires us to stop and be aware of the Creator and feel both gratitude and joy.
I like to imagine Jesus during the forty days after Easter going around and enjoying the beauty of Spring, smelling the flowers, resting in the shade of new greenery, and maybe wading in cool water while he waited to visit someone with his Easter joy and consolation. He is still visiting us! The best is that now he is always with us!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From the Bottom of the Pond

Today I want to introduce you to a small book that has been on my shelf and which I have used off and on for prayer; I just realized that I had not added it to my list of books for good spiritual reading and will do that today. The book is by Simon Small and is "From the Bottom of the Pond: The forgotten art of experiencing God in the depths of the present moment." It is simply written and has some good, basic ideas about contemplation. I liked the title and bought the book on the recommendation of a friend from Scotland. The author is not saying anything new, but it is good to hear him say it in a practical way. Simon Small has some good stories that are from real life and ones that I can easily relate to and enjoy. Having said that, I find that it is not a book I have marked up or taken quotes from, but it is a book that I go back to for some basic thought about contemplation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A New Week

This picture makes me think Spring is here and we begin a new week with spring showers. I am still recovering from a bad cold so need to get something accomplished today as things begin to pile up when I am just taking it easy. The International Online Certificate Program is over until September and so all that is left for me to do is make sure that all who wish to start the Program in September get registered before I close the next course: New Testament Spirituality and the Early Fathers of the Church." We still have room to accept a few and I shall hope to fill the course by May when I am really retiring but know that the Program is in good hands. I am hoping for more International students and must say that the nine graduating now are excellent and we will miss them but happy to have seven still in the Program and at least eight on the list for new students for September. If I am writing all this today, it is because I hope any reading my blog and interested in the Program will contact me soon as there are really only a few places left.
The second thing I will mention today is that some of the former alums of this same International Online Program in Spirituality Studies are going to set up the possibility of continued participation and discussion of excellent books for all the alums of the Program who may be interested. This will happen in May.
The week is beginning for all of us and remember that it is the time after Easter when Jesus makes surprising visits; sometimes he comes to us in others so be on the alert to meet him in our ordinary daily life.
What is Jesus saying to each of us today?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Divine Mercy Sunday

Here is information about this Feast:
The Feast of the Divine Mercy or Divine Mercy Sunday falls on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday immediately following Easter)[1]. It is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy promoted by St. Faustina, and is based upon an entry in St. Faustina's diary stating that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of confession and Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of sins.

According to the notebooks of Saint Faustina, Jesus made the following statements about this day: "On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity." (Diary of Saint Faustina, 699)

The devotion was celebrated unofficially in many places for some years. On April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday of that year), Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and designated the Sunday after Easter as the Second Sunday of Easter or the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de divina misericordia) in the General Roman Calendar, with effect from the following year. He also decreed a plenary indulgence associated with this devotion. Pope John Paul II said he felt a closeness to St. Faustina when he was writing Dives in misericordia [1]. He died during the vigil of the Divine Mercy Sunday 2005.

I hope this is helpful. I love the Gospel for today that has Jesus appearing to the Apostles without Thomas and then returning to tell Thomas to "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"I fell down at his feet"

Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday. I looked in my "Living with Christ" and then in the "Magnificat" for some history of this and did not find any. I guess I need to go to the web to find this information. In the meantime, looking over the readings for Sunday, I was struck by the passage that meant so much to me at one time that I kept praying over it. It is from the Book of Revelation, the second reading for Sunday's Liturgy: "When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever."

It was years ago that this passage spoke to me so strongly; now I only remember the experience of returning to it in prayer for a long time. I think I felt that my place was at the feet of Jesus; there was a deep realization that he is the first and the last, the "one who lives" and that he reaches out and touches me.

I read that trust is the "substrate of mercy". I do not know much about Saint Faustina, but devotion to the Heart of Christ puts us in touch with his mercy and asks for our trust.

"April showers bring May flowers"

"April showers bring May flowers" and so the sun has hidden itself and the gray sky looks as if we will have rain. I am reminded of Isaiah 55 when God tells us that

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Fever

Spring Fever can mean different things to different people at different times. The youth that come to Miami on Spring Break think it means beach parties and fun; for some people it means a huge amount of spring cleaning; for others it means the desire to sit in the sun and do nothing. I am finding myself in that last category and so my blog wants each to enjoy the fact that the winter is finally over and gone and we are seeing new signs of life all around us. In Miami, the new leaves just push the old ones off so many of our trees are always green.

Spiritually, Spring fever is good; we need to take time to enjoy the Easter season; we also need to clean out the cobwebs and shine up our souls, shake out the dust that may have accumulated; most of all, we need to sit in the sun and do nothing so that God may act in us. We are too busy and too talkative so let us relax and keep silence as we enjoy God's weather.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Here is something really worth putting in my blog and I am very grateful to the one who just sent it to me - I love it!

Swept Away

-Hamid al-Din Kirmani

At first the way of your love

Seemed easy.

I thought I’d reach

Your union

With speed.

After taking a few steps,

I found

The way

Is an ocean.

When I stepped in,

A wave swept me away.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Who Knows

I was thinking of the story that De Mello told and I have read in different places through the years - It is called, "Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows?" and goes through several happenings in which the chinese farmer always shrugs his shoulders and says, "Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows?" and really there is so much truth in the fact that bad things often turn out to be good and good things seem to have bad results and only God knows what is happening but we may be sure that it is going to be good at the end.
I am still struggling with a strong allergy and my community think it is still because of the four nights I spent in a condo with three cats. That was the week before Holy Week and yesterday my eyes were watering and I was having a terrible time and some are sure it is because of the cats. Whatever it is seems to have made me feel like doing nothing and I suspect that is the way today will go - once in a while it is good to take time out and do nothing, or so I tell others.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This is a poem I love by Rumi, a great 13th century poet:

The grass beneath a tree is content and silent.

A squirrel holds an acorn in its praying hands,
offering thanks, it looks like.

The nut tastes sweet; I bet the prayer spiced it up somehow.

The broken shells fall on the grass,
and the grass looks up and says, "Hey."

And the squirrel looks down and says, "Hey."

I have been saying "Hey" lately too, to God.

Formalities just weren't working.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Monday with a double Alleluia

I have always loved Easter Monday and will be staying home to enjoy this one! In the evening I will prepare the prayer for an early birthday celebration for one of my community. I think it is fun to celebrate a new year of life, but I am caught up in the fact that Jesus spent the forty days after Easter going around and consoling his disciples and making their hearts burn within them. When I was superior in Coquimbo in the North of Chile, our kind bishop came to visit us on Easter Monday and I am sure he chose this day for his visitation in order to give us joy.
I think it is a good day to call people on the phone who live alone and who will enjoy knowing that someone is thinking of them.
I am also thinking today of the two disciples who left Jerusalem so discouraged and disappointed that Jesus had died on the cross. They heard the tale that the tomb was empty and that some of the women had seen Jesus and that he was alive, but it was too much for them to really believe. While they are walking along, Jesus comes to them. I love this scene. They do not recognize him. He asks them what they were talking about and then, after drawing them out, shows them how the Christ had to suffer all these things. They only realize that it is Jesus with them when he goes to supper with them and breaks bread. Then Jesus disappears and they are full of energy and say, "Were not our hearts burning within us?" They then rush back to Jerusalem to tell the others. May we recognize Jesus as He walks with us today!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Easter Sunday joy comes from know that Jesus has overcome death. I am sure Jesus went to see his mother first of all.
There is a poem that I will copy here for you.
"Just these two words He spoke
changed my life,
"Enjoy Me."

What a burden I thought I was to carry--
a crucifix, as did He.

Love once said to me, "I know a song,
would you like to hear it?"

And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore
in the sky.

After a night of prayer, He
changed my life when
He sang,
"Enjoy Me."

This is St. Theresa of Avila, but I am sure we all hear the same message from the risen Jesus as He comes to us.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mary wept and waited...

In spite of her faith, Mary's heart was pierced as she held her dead and wounded Son. It was hard to leave him in the tomb and I am sure she spent the first Holy Saturday in mourning; she may have had faith and hope in her soul, but I think the predominate emotion was love that led her to grieve the loss of the physical presence of her Son. She also must have relived his sufferings in her own heart. When she stood at the foot of the cross, she was weeping. Tears are part of who we are and Mary was able to cry. I suspect she also prayed for all who abandoned Jesus, those who did not realize that he was God's Son, for all who were now her children. She prays still for all of us.

This is a day of silent waiting. We know that Jesus is risen, but we remember the time just after his death each year and, between the sorrow of Good Friday and the joy of the Easter vigil, we wait with Mary.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Psalm 22 and Last Words of Jesus

Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
You are far from my plea and the cry of my distress.
O my God, I call by day and you give no reply;
I call by night and I find no peace.

Yet you, O God, are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers put their trust;
They trusted and you set them free.
When they cried to you, they escaped.
In you they trusted and never in vain.

But I am a worm and no man,
the butt of men, laughing-stock of the people.
All who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
“He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
Let him release him if this is his friend.”

Yes, it was you who took me from the womb,
entrusted me to my mother’s breast.
To you I was committed from my birth,
From my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not leave me alone in my distress;
Come close, there is none else to help.

Like water I am poured out,
Disjointed are all my bones.

My heart has become like wax,
It is melted within my breast.

Parched as burnt clay is my throat,
My tongue cleaves to my jaws.

Many dogs have surrounded me,
A band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet
And lay me in the dust of death.
(You may want to look up Psalm 22 and finish praying it for yourself as this is only the first verses)

Silent Reflection on the Words of Jesus from the Cross is a way to pray on Good Friday:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“Today you will be with me in paradise.”

“Woman, behold your son…behold, your mother.”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

“I thirst.”

“It is finished.”

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday and Gratitude

We have the gift of the Eucharist to thank for on Holy Thursday. Jesus gives us himself to be our nourishment and strength. We need to be grateful for this gift of the Eucharist and offer ourselves with Jesus to the Father for the life of the world. We also have Jesus giving us the example before the Last Supper of humility; he washed the feet of his disciples. He wants us to be humble and to serve others with love. May we prepare our hearts today to receive him with gratitude and humility tonight.
Here is something from Barbara Bowe who died last month:

Sr. Barbara Bowe, RSCJ, was Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity and Director of the Biblical Spirituality Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her articles have often appeared in The Bible Today, U.S. Catholic, and other scholarly and popular journals. Her most recent book is Biblical Foundations of Spirituality: Touching a Finger to the Flame (Rowman and Littlefield (Sheed and Ward), 2003).

From Living with Christ Holy Week 2009

When asked some time ago to suggest a “ninth beatitude” for readers of Living with Christ; I spent a good deal of time thinking of all kinds of catchy and creative phrases but ended up rejecting each one. They all sounded too contrived or too trite. Then, as I was reading again through the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John’s gospel, a line jumped off the page at me. At the end of the narration of that tender scene, Jesus says to his disciples: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17 RSV). There it was – the ninth beatitude: “Blessed are the footwashers.”

What is a “beatitude”?
These familiar sayings are found in both Testaments, and they express a quality or a behavior that leads one to blessing and happiness. “Happy are those who observe justice” (Ps 106:3) is a typical example from the psalms, but the New Testament beatitudes of Matthew’s gospel especially sound more familiar to our ears: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matt 5:3).

The “ninth beatitude” in John’s gospel that I am proposing forces us to ask, “What is it about footwashing that leads us to blessing?”

Jesus washes our feet
The beautiful scene at the Last Supper in John’s gospel holds many layers of meaning and blessing for us

First, it depict Jesus in a profound act of humility and service performed for his disciples as he washed their feet. It was a service that normally only the lowliest household slave would have done, and yet, when Peter objects, Jesus tells Peter that unless he is washed by Jesus he can have “no part with him” (John 13:8). In other words, something about this scene is essential for our discipleship.

Second, the action of the footwashing vividly prefigures and enacts Jesus’ own impending death in which he will freely “lay down his life for his friends,” just as he has laid aside his garments in this footwashing scene, Though “Teacher and Lord,” Jesus has given this example to them of a profound act of service in love – love to the end (John 13:1)

Third, Jesus has been the hospitable host who welcomes them and attends to their needs. Humble service in love, hospitality offered to all, a willingness to “lay down one’s life” – all these actions and attitudes are ways to blessing and happiness.

Jesus asks us to do the same
But these insights do not yet exhaust the meaning of this “beatitude.” In the story, as Jesus is putting on his garments again and taking his place with them, he asks them: “Do you understand what I have done to you?” The very question signals that the answer is not self-evident!

Jesus first reminds them of his exalted status in their midst as “Teacher and Lord,” but then challenges them: “If I have washed your feet…so you must wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14) Then follows the beatitude, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

For each of us then, regardless of our status or role, to “wash feet” – to perform profound acts of service in love for others – is the path to blessing and happiness. To care for the dying, to rescue a child, to visit those in prison, to feed the hungry, to comfort those in need; to shelter the alien and the outcast, in short, to imitate the actions of Jesus carries blessing and happiness for those who do these things.

May we all rejoice in this new “beatitude”: Blessed are the footwashers; for they shall know the true meaning of Christian life.

You may wish to begin prayer by listening to or singing “Bread for the World” or “Peace I Leave” (see

Take a few moments to become quiet and centered. Follow where the Spirit leads you and jot down your thoughts or consider the following question:

How have I experience the blessing of footwashing?