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Reflection - June 2016

posted Aug 24, 2016, 6:59 PM by theresa orozco, ossm   [ updated Aug 24, 2016, 8:23 PM ]

Even after death people continue to inspire us. I learned this anew when my dear friend and co-author, Joyce Hutchison, died in early May after living almost three years with
stage-four lung cancer. A few months before her death, Joyce planned her Vigil Service and Funeral liturgy. She voiced her intentions to those of us present during the development
of the services, "I want the focus to be about giving of ourselves. I hope the services will be about love."
Joyce explained how she approached her many years of oncology nursing and hospice work with the attitude of being a "foot washer." She described how privileged she felt
to be of service, having learned in nurses training "to treat each patient as if that person were Jesus." Small wonder that Joyce's work revealed a wide-open, generous heart
filled with compassion. The good she did for others flowed from a humble heart.
Thus it came about that the evening Vigil focused on the washing of feet, based on the story of Jesus in John's gospel (Jn13:1-16) and Macrina Wiederkehr's reflection on
this topic in Seasons of Your Heart. This foot-washing made a profound statement about Joyce's life. It also encouraged those present to meet their relationships and labor
in a similar manner.
This attitude of foot-washing is reflected in Caryll Houselander's book, The Reed of God: "We could scrub the floor for a tired friend, or dress a wound for a patient in a hospital,
or set the table and wash up for the family; but we shall not do it in martyr spirit or with that worse spirit of self-congratulation, of feeling that we are making ourselves more perfect, more unselfish, more positively kind.
We shall do it for just one thing, that our hands make Christ's hands in our life, that our service may let Christ serve through us, that our patience may bring Christ's patience
back to the world."
This past March while teaching at the Dromantine Center in Northern Ireland Fr. Paddy loaned me his copy of The Gentle Art of Blessing, with the comment that I might like
its contents. Indeed. I purchased my own book when I returned home and found its message similar to that which motivated Joyce's service: a true reverence for other people.
How we approach those we come in contact with makes all the difference. Pierre Pradervand writes, "To bless means to wish, unconditionally and from the deepest chambers
of your heart, unrestricted good for others... to hallow, to hold in reverence, to behold with awe that which is always a gift from the Creator. ... To bless is to acknowledge the
omnipresent, universal beauty hidden from material eyes... When you wish them the very best from your innermost being, it is impossible for your heart not to expand.
From a narrow cubicle, it will become a temple without walls."To have our hearts "become a temple without walls." To see Christ in another. May it be so.
Abundant peace,

Joyce Rupp