This is a wonderful example of "composition of place" taken from The Anchoress.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I turn my face toward Jerusalem...
I come to the door of the house, carrying my jar of ointment, still wondering what possessed me to come. As I bribe the doorkeeper -- who knows me -- to let me in, I wonder what He will do when I touch His feet. If He should kick at me, it is only what I deserve, but if He does before I can anoint Him, what then? What then? No answer comes. And now I am already inside, burning under the hostile gaze of everyone in the room. Oh, God, it is a regular dinner party! They all know, they all accuse, they all wonder how I gained entrance. Even the maidservants stare.
But there He is, and he is not looking at me. He is attentive to a conversation which He has just begun with someone on the opposite side of the table -- almost as though He is deliberately distracting attention from me -- and others are joining in now, too. The oppressive, silent accusation is lifted, and I make my way to Him. As I remove His sandals, he doesn't flinch, and I begin to weep. He is letting me touch Him! He is letting me touch Him without fuss or ceremony; I didn't even have to ask! As my tears fall on His ankle accidentally, I realize how dirty these feet are. Whatever water I can, I use; my tears shall cleanse Him even as they cleanse my heart from so much worry, so much shame. All my memories of sin, I pour out of my eyes; all my wishes to begin again as a new woman, become tears to wash away the dust on these precious feet. But what shall I use to dry them? Even my clothes are tainted by my past life -- I cannot dirty these feet anew by using defiled veil or dress. But my hair is mine, God-given from before I fell away from him. Pulling back my veil, I loosen its combs and let its coils tumble down. Gently, I dry away my tears and try to calm the tremors in my stomach and hands. How can He be allowing this? He still has not even looked at me!
Finally I reach for my jar. Though this ointment cost me nearly all my ill-gotten fortune, it now pales in the face of what this wandering prophet has given me. I no longer desire any vestige of my sinfulness, any remnant of this life, and I break the neck of the jar on the stone floor, emptying its entire contents on the feet before me. The noise and smell which soon overpowers the room immediately bring attention back on me, and I hide my scarlet face by bending and kissing once more His now-pungent feet.
Then I hear his voice and feel a gently hand on my head. "Simon, I have something to say."
What ensued I can hardly admit even to myself. He described my actions beautifully, as if they were favors to Him instead of supplications, and then He turned to me, raised me up, and forgave me. Then, taking my veil and covering my head again, He said, "You shall no longer be a woman of the streets, but a woman of the Way. Come, follow me! You can stay with Simon Peter's family, and they will give you new clothes. With them, you will serve and follow me and my disciples."
A new life! A new path! I rejoiced even in my astounded state, and Simon Peter led me out through the streets to his mother. I am leaving everything behind! Everything, except those things stored in my heart...which, Simon points out, are all that He desires me to keep anyway.
Then I -- once again QM -- went back and spoke with this Jesus who had just asked me to come and follow Him. I began to understand that the Lord is asking me to come now, and leave behind my life in the world to join Him as he travels to Jerusalem and to Calvary. My service will be to Him and to others on the Way for the rest of my life, to be on the inside of the circle of disciples and to stay there, not going out to minister to those outside.
"But why, Lord? Why should I not care for those others?"
"Because other apostles will do so -- and you must care for them."
"But they don't have the mind I have, nor the talents..."
"...nor the heart! And it is for that very reason that I ask you to come with me. For you need and desire to be formed in my own Heart, before you can use all these gifts to the utmost for my glory. You must learn to be one with me and my Way, so that when you do finally write and speak, it is with my words and my Heart, not your own. This is not a case of what is right or wrong, or a case of what is good or bad, but rather a case of you. And because it is you whom I call, I call you to this life."
"So, just to be perfectly clear, Lord, are you asking me to serve you as a contemplative nun?"
"Then, the Passionist Nuns?"
"Then, the Passionist Nuns." He smiled.
I fell to my knees. "Lord, have mercy on me, a poor sinner."
This has been the weblog of Quantitative Metathesis, who departs on the morning of August 19 to begin her aspirancy with the Passionist Nuns in Whitesville, KY. You may catch glimpses of her new adventures at their own blog, found here. Please pray for her, as she does for you!
May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ be ever in our hearts!