Friday, April 18, 2014

"Three Flames" by John Predmore, S.J.

Three flames flickered. Weeks of preparation have ceased and the Pascal Triduum begins. Last minute drama and anxieties filled the air as parishioners moved about hurriedly to do their last few devotionals as they ready spiritually for these sacred moments. I caught sight of those three flames they flickered.

The trinitarian candelabra was brought out only for these three days. The gentle draft cause to flame to lean towards the Mary Statue and to hold steady. Events swirled about them, but those flashes of fire just held themselves in balance. I breathed. I let all go and I entered into Christ’s drama. His were the eyes that we waiting to be noticed. He wanted me to gaze at his face and notice his calm countenance. His look captured me and I rested in his gaze. Together, we would begin the sacred liturgy.

Moses began to tell his newly freed friends, “This is how we are to keep the feast. Let us celebrate to remember how God delivered us from the hands of our oppressors. Pray for them because they have done what all people do. They are not evil and we wish no harm to them, but let us escape to safety because God is delivering us. Let us celebrate in haste and remember this day always.”

Paul then told his community, “This is what we must hand onto others because Jesus handed it to us on the night before he died. Let us remember him whenever we gather and eat and drink. Let us always strive to love – something which is not always easy to do, but let us never give up.”

Then Jesus walked over to them and asked if he could be joined to them by washing their feet. The flames of those candles skipped a beat before they settled into their steady beaconing.

It wasn’t quite the washing that caught them by surprise or the words that were spoken. It was the way he gently touched their feet in a way they could not say no to this gentle man. It only made them want to be more united with him because his touch proved how much he cared for them. It was when he gazed into their eyes. He saw the flame in their eyes flickered a great deal and burned brightly. He knew they would dim in the coming hours, but the flame would be rekindled one day. He knew they would remember this moment. Instead of acting in fear, Jesus reached out and tended to their needs very personally. It was the great act of reconciliation that though his efforts would end in death, his care for them would endure. He just did not know how, but he knew that memories live on and one day they are rekindled.

Those flames flickered. Did anyone else notice them? Who cares? I saw them and they formed my prayer. The heat and fragrance that rose to heaven was enough for me. I knew my being was getting nourished. I just had to sit and notice and Jesus washed over me. We would spend these next days together.