Thursday April 17 – The Last Supper
In the Christian tradition the Last Supper is celebrated on this day. It’s about a meal, and about the sacredness of hospitality. Last year Pope Francis shocked the Catholic world by celebrating Holy Thursday in a detention center and including non-Catholic prisoners in the ritual of the washing of the feet (including Muslims and women). For many Catholics this was a breath of fresh air; for many it was shocking. Challenging hospitality.
Is it harder to welcome or to allow myself to be welcomed? Being welcomed expands my world according to the people whom I allow to welcome me. A long favorite prayer poem, dating from the 17th century, says for me how important have been the women and men who have found ways to make me welcome when I doubted my place in their place and their lives. That’s what makes me life larger. For you too, I’d bet. Here’s the poem, by George Herbert.
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.
‘A guest,’ I answer’d,’ worthy to be here’:
Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear
I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
‘Who made the eyes but I?’
“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘who bore the blame?’
‘My dear, then I will serve.’
‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste My meat.’
So I did sit and eat.
George Herbert 1633