Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday: May we be all flame

Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart;
and there hold me, refine, purge and set me on fire,
raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

We gathered in the small chapel we use for daily Mass and for the Liturgy of the Hours.  The altar has been stripped, the tabernacle is empty, the presence lamp gone.  Light flows in.  Our voices were strong as we began, "O Sacrament of love, sign of our unity, bond of our community, whoever longs for life has here its source, let us come here and believe, united with you, and live."

Tonight I will walk in solemn procession, a river of light and incense and prayer wending its way through the church, bearing fire, standing guard.  I thought this morning of the story of Abba Lot, one of the desert fathers.  He came to Abba Joseph and said, "as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace..what else can I do?” Abba Joseph lifted his hand to heaven and his fingers became like ten lamps — aflame. "If you will, you can become all flame."

We have come to the end of Lent.  As we were able we have kept to our obligations, fasted, prayed and meditated; we prayed fiercely for peace.  And now?  Now it time for us to become all flame.

Photo is of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

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