Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Second Al Fresco Feast

This crucifix was salvaged before the rectory was closed. It travels with us everywhere. Yesterday, on the feast of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, Mother of Mercy, we set it up on our front stoop "Altorius" in the center of the top step, in what would be in direct line with the altar and tabernacle, had they not been removed.

I went in close, trying to capture its broken beauty. The vertical beam, behind the corpus had snapped off. We regularly reassemble it, carefully dovetailing the splintered ends. We never lose any, and they lock together perfectly. We then add the horizontal beam, which is notched. We gently tie the corpus to the cross with a piece of elasticized string, then reinforce it with Scotch tape.

I was so fixed on the cross that, when I looked at the shot, I was shocked to see it looming so large in front of the church. In fact, it is not. It is standing in front of a faded, tattered poster depicting the church 2 years ago, before it had closed. I thanked the Holy Spirit for the perspective.

Like the church, its red doors fading and its broken cross, so was Jesus. He died on a cross, broken. All of us at Our Lady of Vilnius feel this brokenness and humility. We feel empathy for Our Lady's love for her son and her sorrow at His death. We also rejoice in His resurrection.

In front of the church yesterday, in Lithuanian and in English, we prayed in concert with those celebrating the feast in Vilnius, aligning ourselves with the intention of creating a more merciful civilization.

After our prayers, we enjoyed each other's company and Rita's excellent kugelis. We thanked God for this place that brought us together and continues to teach us, even though we now gather outside.

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