Holy Thursday

Tonight it was preached:
Never leave without saying I love you, because this is what they will remember.

Thirty years of Christ had gone by, and we remember next to nothing. Then this.

This is how Jesus of Nazareth spends his last days:

He washes the feet of his friends,
even the one he knows will sell him to death.
This does not exempt him from a loving goodbye.
He knows he needs the affection more than anyone.

To wash someone’s feet is to be intimate,
as with a child or a spouse.
That is the man Jesus is.
He is gentle, in a world that does not let men be gentle.
He is vulnerable, in a world ready to believe the worst.
He is present, tactile, undeterred.

They break bread together.
He gives thanks for this.
I reverse the order to shock you:
he gives thanks for the opportunity to be broken.

Never leave without saying I love you.
Simon’s son kisses him goodbye.

This is what I am thinking, as we process with the Blessed Sacrament held high and command our tongues to glorify him in it:

How delicate a human soul,
that at one point, we all fit within a rosary bead,
we fit within a tabernacle, we fit within each other’s arms.
We are so fragile.
Christ breaks so easy.
He is so little,
dissolving on my tongue,
so little in that golden ark,
so little I cannot see him from here,
and he has given thanks for this.

The candle burns my skin and the song strains my voice and the ground fights my knees and I give thanks for this.

It is not that God has made himself little, to fit in my heart.
He was already little.
As if that were a bad thing.
He was already delicate, and affectionate, and brave,
things a man ought to be,
things a man is not allowed to be,
things we break men for,
we break everything that is good,
that is how you know it is good,
and it is hard to give thanks for this.

God dies tomorrow, do not let him leave without saying I love you.

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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