Thursday, April 1, 2010

Whose Feet Will You Wash?

Maundy Thursday is a reminder that our Lord’s call to communion with himself is inseparable from our communion with one another as members of his body. Basil the Great understood this and warned in his monastic Rule against seeking communion with God outside of community:

How shall you show humility, if you have no one in comparison with whom to show yourself humble? How shall you show compassion if you cut yourself off from the fellowship of the many? How can you exercise yourself in patience, if no one contradicts your wishes? If you think the teaching of the Holy Scripture is sufficient to correct your character, you are like a person who learns the theory of carpentry but never makes anything.

The Lord, because of his great love of humanity, was not content only with teaching the word, but, so that he might accurately and clearly give us an example of humility in the perfection of love, he girded himself and washed the feet of the disciples in person. [If you neglect life in the community] whose feet will you wash? Who will you care for? In comparison to whom will you be last?

A Life Pleasing to God, The Spirituality of the Rules of St. Basil by Augustine Holmes OSB, Cistercian Publications, WMU Station, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 12000, p. 142

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