Monday, March 18, 2013
I used to wash the feet of the poor
I used to wash the feet of the poor on Holy Thursday, I don't do it anymore. In Brighton it is pretty easy to find a dozen homeless people for the foot washing at The Mass of Lord's Supper. They are more than happy to do something on a Thursday evening and to have a part in the drama, and if you also offer a new sleeping bag or better a small amount of cash they are quite delighted. And the good thing is the sign it gives: we are a Church who puts the poor at its heart, and you are a priest who cares for poor.
I have stopped doing it, because it was seriously sinful. I was using the poor, and exploiting their poverty and I was using the liturgy to satisfy my own pride. It rather thrilled me that people would suggest this parish and I were more concerned about the poor than the next door parish. If I was willing to give up my bed or what is more valuable to me, my solitude and silence, even the simplicity of my life it might have been of value. There is a great danger for priests and bishops to use religion as theatre.
True humility is really about going against one's nature and natural inclinations rather than giving into them.
See this post by Fr Zeeeee on those read shoes, I can't help thinking of that old man who was our Pope when he would have preferred the solitude of his study or the simplicity of his apartment on the other side of the Vatican walls rather than the crucifixion of the Papacy as an example of true humility.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake