Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Washed in God’s Blessings

By Beth DeCristofaro

John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’” (Acts 13:24-25)

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.  (John 13:16-17)

Dear Lord, soak me in your holiness.  Rinse out the eyes of my heart to see and
Jesus Washing the Disciple’s Feet
rejoice in the holiness of others.  Deluge me with resolution to stand up for holiness against sinfulness in this world you have graciously created.  In kneeling to wash the feet of others may I find myself kneeling at your feet, my Jesus.

My teacher, Sr. Lucy, was one of the first holy people I met.  Of course at the time I just thought of her as kind, gentle and pretty.  Repeatedly in my life holy people have brought me many blessings.  A thoughtful woman gave food and companionship to me, a lonely stranger.  A social worker remained focused on the needs of very desperate people she served despite personal adversity. A peace activist lives in poverty to serve homeless and teach about non-violence.  An 80+ year old Buddhist nun from Hiroshima, Japan, walked across the US to physically be in solidarity with the victims of 9-11. They all practiced humility, were openly focused on the greater good and saw the presence of God within life.  And in their presence I felt an inner peace.

Not that all holy ones are serene, tender and quiet!  My great-uncle, a Benedictine monk, dispensed raucous jokes and bad puns.  Kathy, Catholic Worker friend, is a devout but strident, in-your-face anti-war resister.  A gadfly parishioner directs a parish fundraiser and it is largely due to her doggedness that donations pour in.  John the Baptist was characterized as charismatic and forceful but he knows his place as Messenger not Messiah.  And even the Messiah, even the Son of God, Son of Man, knelt and humbly washed feet, including the feet of his betrayer.

In prayer, raise up in your mind before God someone who just drives you nuts!  Someone who is so far from holy!  Spend some quiet time with God, bringing that person in front of your heart’s eye.  Consider what it is that is so annoying, pray for a softening of her/his heart before God.  Look also deeply within yourself and be open to recognizing what within you might mirror the same unenviable quality you find in her/him.  Pray for yourself for forgiveness and softening of your own heart.  Then look again at the irritating person.  In prayer image, wash her/his feet.  Find within her/him a trait of goodness, holiness or at least marginally positive.  Give thanks to God for that person.  Find within yourself a holy place which you have not yet recognized or have neglected.  Thank God!  Thank God that Holiness will not be overtaken by evil.

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