Holy Week, 2018
Dear Each One,
Holy Thursday is my favorite day of the whole year. For me, it is the day that focuses everything: friendship, love, betrayal, community, food, service, humility and, almost best of all, imagination.
I love that Jesus is gathered with friends and family (surely a diverse crowd) and that, in the face of everything, he can enjoy what he is about. He can experience the reality of the moment.
In the midst of a beautiful meal, full of the story of a people, he relates with those gathered with him ... in the moment. He humbly washes their feet, reminding us all that no one is better than another, that real service is knowing who you are and being in right relationship with others. He washes their feet respectfully and helps them to know the truth of his leadership and his care for them.
In the midst of the truth that one will betray him, he remains focused on what he knows of himself and his mission. There is power in that reality – no matter the chaos – to stay clear about who he is and what he is about. He can go forward knowing that it is not his work, but the work of the One who sent him.
Most of all, though, I love the imagination at work in this night. Who would ever think of taking ordinary bread and wine and seeing in them a way to remain with people? To be forever in their midst because he loves them and wants to be with them forever? That kind of imagination – to see in the ordinary gifts of every day a way to be in relationship with others – is a tremendous gift. I suppose it's the same as "seeing differently"; being able to see with your own vision ... perhaps what others do not see. In any case, it is a gift of imagination that is worth cultivating and giving thanks for.
As we enter into these holy days, the gift of silence – creating and embracing it – can help us to ponder once more what it is to be human in the radical style of Jesus of Nazareth. In the turmoil and chaos of his situation, he stayed true to himself and to his mission. We are in a time of tremendous chaos and change in our world. Staying focused on our mission and who we are called to be as revealers of God's love, staying receptive to the love that will impel us forward in service to others through our prayer and our action, is our call. The desire to be one body, to live our communion more deeply, is our call as well. It is a call in the international Society, but also in the ordinary every day of our community life and our relationships with one another.
How do I see, in the simple reality of the sister with whom I share breakfast, a partner in making God's love more visible in our world? How do we together, recognizing both our differences and our common mission, offer ourselves for the good of the world?
Let us pray for one another and for all God's people during this holy time. May Nature's springtime be a harbinger of the springtime of our religious life.
The Provincial Team joins me in wishing you a holy triduum and a most joyous Easter.
Sheila Hammond, RSCJ
Society of the Sacred Heart United States-Canada Province