Friday, December 4, 2009

Extraordinary (form) weekend Part V: Saturday draws to a close: preparations for Advent Sunday I

When I wrote yesterday that by last Saturday evening my 'interior diary' was almost full, I should of course have said that it WAS ALREADY FULL TO OVERFLOWING!

After Vespers and supper Father went up to his room to finish watching a film on his computer. Not much later, I crept up to the chapel as quietly as possible in case he had retired for the night. The first thing I found was that the sanctuary lamp had burnt out. Having replaced its light, I set about a general tidying up, laying out the vestments for the next morning, and then changing the colour of the altar furnishings from red to violet. As I worked something came into my mind from Rumer Godden's novel, 'In this House of Brede'. She wrote that on the night after the redistribution of Offices, no nun had gone to bed happier than Dame Winifred who had done a long and hard spell as assistant cellarer and had that day been appointed Sacristan. I've always understood why that should have been, but since this morning my understanding had been transformed into the reality of lived experience. Here I was, totally unworthy, completely alone with Our Lord as I worked, and so close to Him...........I am utterly incapable of describing my feelings or of telling you what I said to Him or of what He conveyed to me in the graced silence, a silence as profound and soft as dark violet velvet.

Work done, it was time for the Rosary. At the beginning of the latter, I was in front of the little shrine of the Sacred Heart, and as the Glorious Mysteries unfolded found myself moving from shrine to little shrine of the chapel - all in the sight of the glorious Eucharistic Face of Our Lord - as if presenting them to Him and seeing them myself with new eyes. First St. Thomas More, then St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal, St. Bernadette, St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, then the Vincentian Saints, St Vincent himself, St. Louise de Marillac and St. Catherine Laboure of the Miraculous Medal.
At the Sacred Heart again, I prayed with St. Margaret Mary, St. Claude Colombieres, her director, and St. Jean Eudes, at last at the Salve Regina, arriving beneath the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes on her wall plinth. Others in the guise of their earthly representations looked on from the sacristy and vesting area, - St. Cecilia, St. Faustina, St. Michael, St. Jean Vianney and St. Gabriel. I begged the assistance in prayer of every member of this august company and felt the spiritual presence of my earthly living friends, some of whom will now be reading this.

Soon now I must go to bed, but kneeling again before Our Lord I could not be torn away just yet.
I do not know how long I stayed with Him, or how late it was when I finally descended to the ground floor. (When we have people to stay, we sleep in rooms downstairs so as to afford maximum privacy to our guests.) As I went down, one last look at the tabernacle and the glow of the sanctuary lamp in the surrounding darkness, and this long, beautiful, undeserved and life-changing day was almost over. Minutes later, as my head hit the pillow I remember thinking how indescribably wonderful and consoling it was that Our Lord was uptstairs and would be watching over us so closely throughout the coming night. 'Thank You Lord' I said aloud. And slept.

Next post: The First Sunday in Advent


Annie said...

Thank you for posting Jane, it's a real privilege to read. God bless x

sandy said...

Just wonderful!