Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday

St. Augustine:

"Who would not shrink back in dismay from having his feet washed by the Son of God . . . You? Me? Words to be pondered on rather than spoken about, lest words fail to express their true meaning."

"But what is this? what does it mean? and what is there in it we need to examine? The Lord says, The Truth declares that even he who has been washed has need still to wash his feet. What, my brethren, what think you of it, save that in holy baptism a man has all of him washed, not all save his feet, but every whit; and yet, while thereafter living in this human state, he cannot fail to tread on the ground with his feet.

And thus our human feelings themselves, which are inseparable from our mortal life on earth, are like feet wherewith we are brought into sensible contact with human affairs; and are so in such a way, that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. And every day, therefore, is He who intercedes for us, washing our feet: and that we, too have daily need to be washing our feet, that is ordering aright the path of our spiritual footsteps, we acknowledge even in the Lord's prayer, when we say, "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors." For "if," as it is written, "we confess our sins," then verily is He, who washed His disciples' feet, "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," that is, even to our feet wherewith we walk on the earth."

John Chrysostom:

"Let us see also what He doeth now towards the disciples, or rather what actions He now exhibiteth towards the traitor. The man whom most of all there was reason to hate, because being a disciple, having shared the table and the salt, having seen the miracles and been deemed worthy of such great things, he acted more grievously than any, not stoning indeed, nor insulting Him, but betraying and giving Him up, observe in how friendly sort He receiveth this man, washing his feet; for even in this way He desired to restrain him from that wickedness.

Yet it was in His power, had He willed it, to have withered him like the fig-tree, to have cut him in two as He rent the rocks, to have cleft him asunder like the veil; but He would not lead him away from his design by compulsion, but by choice. Wherefore He washed his feet; and not even by this was that wretched and miserable man shamed."
St. Josemaria Escriva:

"'I have given you an example', he tells his disciples after washing their feet, on the night of the Last Supper. Let us reject from our hearts any pride, any ambition, any desire to dominate; and peace and joy will reign around us and within us, as a consequence of our personal sacrifice."
Although, I suppose this might give more proof of the tendency of the Catholic Church to read more into the text than is there. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Good, now they're nice and clean, and ready for supper . . .

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