Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Do you realize what I have done for you?"

Jesus lays down the clothes of his glory, he wraps around his waist the towel of humanity and makes himself a servant. - Pope Benedict XVI, Homily on Holy Thursday 2008

I'm a big ol' fan of icons of the Church. I find great beauty in the reverence that Eastern Catholics have for iconography not as a symbol of the Word of God, but as the very Word of God itself, represented visually. The process of "writing an icon" is a prayerful and spiritual experience in itself (and one I'm not cut out for, I might add...).

The icon of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is in my Top Three of all-time favorite icons. It's been the background image on my work computers ever since I began my venture into parish and youth ministry - the image of Christ humbling himself to serve his disciples is eternally humbling to me and a great reminder of what I'm called to do as a minister.

But weird parish ministers aren't the only ones called to wash feet.

Every now and again, you hear the word "charism" pop up while talking to a Catholic. Basically, it's the religious equivalent of the old, "we all have different gifts" talk that our parents gave us when we got cut from the baseball team/band/skee ball club, etc. In the secular world, it rarely makes us feel much better. In the Church, it means that we were created beautifully unique for a specific role in the Kingdom.

Yesterday, I went with 20 youth to a place called Loaves & Fishes in Minneapolis - basically a service through various churches in the area that serves dinner to homeless and poor families. When we were wrapping up dinner and I was scraping inches of burned gunk off of industrial pots with one of the high schoolers, I was thinking to myself "I'm not cut out to do this every day."

Not all of us are called to be overseas missionaries. Not everyone is called to be a youth minister. Not everyone is called to be a priest or a sister. But EVERYONE is called to wash the feet of those who need it most - that's not a charism, it's a command. When Jesus asked his disciples, "do you realize what I have done for you?" he wasn't asking them if they recognized the significance of foot-washing. Jesus was asking them if they realized that he had just given them an obligation to do the same.

Which begs the question - whose feet have you washed this Lent? The family member you need to be reconciled with? The co-worker you know is having a hard time with a sick loved one? The child who needs to be told that she's worthwhile? The homeless person you pass by every day on the way to work?

Happy Holy Thursday - now wash some feet!


P.S. Just stumbled across the blog of the Vocations Director at the Benedictine Monastery that my fiancé was discerning with when we started dating. She's awesome. :)

Now playing: Dave Matthews Band - Lie in Our Graves
via FoxyTunes

No comments: