The Washing of the Feet
In a meditation that is appropriate for Holy Thursday, Romano Guardini reflects on the meaning of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and his command to them that they wash one another’s feet. It is a call, he suggests, to follow in the way of Christ:
Every Christian one day reaches the point where he too must be willing to accompany the Master into destruction and oblivion: into that which the world considers folly, that which for his own understanding is incomprehensible. Whatever it is to be: suffering, dishonor, the loss of loved ones or the shattering of a lifetime oeuvre, this is the decisive test of his Christianity. Will he shrink back before the ultimate depths, or will he be able to go all the way and thus win his share of the life of Christ? What is it we fear in Christianity if not precisely this demand? That is why we try to water it down to a less disturbing system of “ethics” or “Weltanschauung” or what have you. But to be a Christian means to participate in the life of Christ–all of it; only the whole brings peace. The Lord once said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27). Peace comes only from living this through to the end. One way or another we must brush the depths Christ divinely plummeted, taste the dregs he drained to the last drop: “It is consummated” (Jn 19:30). From this unreserved realization of the Father’s will comes the illimitable peace of Christ, also for us.