Weaving through the Mysteries

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting, OP

Every Gospel of this Holy Week puts us at the table with Jesus, the night before he suffered.

At no other time in the church year does Eucharist reveal its meaning so clearly and compellingly. Each day, we gather with the disciples to celebrate with Jesus the Passover meal. With our backdrop a Hebrew meal of sacred remembrance already deeply rich in meaning and practice, we tell the story again.

Here Jesus sums up his life and gives to us a lifetime task of discipleship: the washing of one another’s feet, the breaking of ourselves as bread for others, and the dying to ourselves, in love, which proclaims his life-giving death, and invests the other actions with its ultimate meaning. Each of the three actions describes and enriches the other two – as we are fed, we are food, as we wash, we bring the waters of life, as we make memorial of Jesus’ death we offer our own imperfect pouring out in gratitude for God’s abundant mercies.

In all three the stance of the heart is the same: as T.S. Eliot wrote it, “A condition of complete simplicity (costing not less than everything)” – Little Gidding. He has given us a lifetime’s death in love, and this is what we try to return, a lifetime of becoming what we receive, a lifetime of putting on the Lord Jesus Christ – like a garment. A garment to be woven, which each of us receives in Baptism and along with it, the task of continuing the weaving. Jesus provides the warp threads, endlessly repeated, what he does for us eternally: wash feet, break bread, pour out his life on the cross.

These are the core of our garment – the golden warp threads of his life mingling with ours, structuring ours. All our lives we weave our garment, in and out, over and under, the breaking, the washing, and the dying and rising of Christ Jesus.

What is it we weave? Our growing and becoming, our learning to share, to give, our many ways of serving God’s people and showing ourselves as Living Words. Our service in the ministries we practice, our service in prayer and presence, and our voices raised for the little ones of God, the hungry, the immigrants, the terrorized, the forgotten – and over and over again in this Dominican life we have chosen, our working and praying and preaching peace.
Day by day, year after year, we weave the ordinary: the way we live together, rub up against each other, forgive each other, and our joys and wonderments, memories, and hard times.

Our threads are of countless colors and textures: thin, or thick, more often burlap-rough than silky angora – and all these weft threads are held together by those golden warp-threads, strong and shining, holding a grace-pattern that will never unravel.

We weave with Jesus our savior and brother, our garment of life. We put it on, so small and new and promising at our Baptism. We will wear it someday, clothed in glory, a wedding garment at the Great Banquet, The Feast of the Lamb.

And for now, in this week we call Holy, we ponder this weaving, in and out, over and under, realizing that we wear it unfinished, but serviceable: as a towel, wrapped around our waist.

Posted in News, Weekly Word

9 responses to “Weaving through the Mysteries

  1. Brilliant, Jan. I loved your imagery. Thank you for sharing your gifts and the depth of your reflection with us.

  2. Jan,
    I am touched by the depth and beauty of your Holly Week preaching. It is a Word of Truth as well as a Work of Art.
    Thanks ever so much

  3. Dear Jan,
    As always, you provide us with great imagery and reflection…thanks very specially for this great reminder of how we weave the threads of our life… and how we wear our garment…though it is unfinished…how we spend our whole life ever becoming more whole….I will continue to ponder these insights often. A Blessed and joy-filled Easter to you!

  4. Thank you so much, Jan, for this insightful story of the weaving of our lives! It is very special to me, as for many years I have envisioned the impact of my friends/mentors in my life, as thread woven into my “fabric’ of life, and in reading your Word, here, invited me to look again at the colors of my friends/mentors of the past in the garment of my life! Double thanks to you! Terry

  5. Dear Jan,
    Thank you for painting that picture of service for us. I am particularly drawn to reflect on the words, “we ponder this weaving, in and out, over and under, realizing that we wear it unfinished, but serviceable: as a towel, wrapped around our waist.” May Jesus show us how we are to serve today and each day of our lives.

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