At Maundy Thursday

Washing-of-the-Feet-1308-11-largeNow then go up with our Lord into the large upper room, furnished for supper, and rejoice to share the delights of the meal which brings us salvation. Let love overcome shyness, affection drive out fear, so that he may at least give you alms from the crumbs of that table when you beg for something. Or stand at a distance and, like a poor man looking to a rich man, stretch out your hand to receive something. Let your tears declare your hunger. But when he rises from table, girds himself with the towel and pours water into the basin, consider what majesty it is that is washing and drying the feet of mere mortals, what graciousness it is that touches with his sacred hands the feet of the traitor. Look and wait and, last of all, give him your own feet to wash, because those whom he does not wash will have no part with him.

Why are you in such a hurry to go out now? Wait a little while. Do you see? Who is that, I ask, who is reclining on his breast and bends back his head to lay it in his bosom? Happy is he, whoever he may be. O, I see: his name is John. O John, tell us what sweetness, what grace and tenderness, what light and devotion you are imbibing from that fountain. There indeed are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of mercy, the abode of loving kindness, the honeycomb of eternal sweetness.

— From A Rule of Life for a Recluse by Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)


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