Lent is almost over and I am left with some simple images.The Bradford Pear flowers drifting down like a spring snow.The unused coffee cup that a dear friend gave me that has been empty of the bliss and warmth for these forty days as I deprived myself .The statues in church covered in purple.The rock waterfall behind the altar that has been shut off for this penitential season.Lent:pared down,simple and profound.
It was in this season that ,with great gentleness,the Lord led me to ask forgiveness of my deceased parents.That I was to face my lack of love towards them.With his hand for support, such knowledge would be bearable.And after doing this, a breeze lifted my spirit and I felt that nothing stood between me and my Lord anymore.
Images.Of the new Pope kissing a handicapped man.His head bent backward, the man's face shown with God's glory.And then the foot washing.Not of fellow priests but young juveniles,male and female. And the kissing of this most disregarded part of the body.What could this mean for the young people and the staff?How do we know the power of this act?
Once, when I was meeting a Mercy Sister to pray with homeless women at a day shelter in Atlanta , we offered this foot washing to the clients in the sitting area.This poor safe room of worn chairs and sofas.The one spot they could call their own for a few hours.None of the ladies seemed interested but the staff at the shelter said we could wash their feet.There were about eight ladies and they had difficult jobs;providing services to scared,angry and some deranged women, at minimum wage.Day after day.
I recall the first staff member falling into the wooden chair with a weary sigh, taking her shoes off and closing her eyes.We not only washed her feet but massaged them gently for several minutes as her tears fell.It was a holy act and she knew it.We knew it.Each of the staff cried in the same soft way.It may have been one of the best days of my life.