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No Greater Love

No Greater Love 2550 1700 Nicole

For Lent, we are using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, Holy Week, the theme is Love. Our meditation for today is entitled, “No Greater Love,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, The Last Supper, 1497-98, Leonardo da Vinci. The image is included in the post for this podcast, and accompanies the places where this is posted. If you do not have access to the photo, but do have access to internet, you can google “The Last Supper, 1497-98, Leonardo da Vinci.”

There is a phenomenon that Psychologists identified when observing effects of individuals in the isolation of a lockdown. Outside our usual routines, very little or no physical interaction, stimuli, the brain becomes exceptionally forgetful.

For today’s meditation, take a few moments to slow your breathing

Take 2 or 3 deep, cleansing breaths.

Allow the oxygen to activate, enliven the neuronal connections.

Notice your head space clearing. Attend your thoughts.

Sit with these thoughts and notice them drawing to the center.

Breathe in the Spirit who knows our thoughts.

Breathe out the anxious thoughts that cluttered.

Breathe in the truth that God remains with you.

As you breathe out, exhale a prayer of surrender.

Continue breathing in and out, allow the Spirit to bring your attention to Jesus, on this Maundy Thursday.

Pay attention to God’s invitation to be present.

Settle into the peace of Christ as you listen. Hear the mediation and notice what the spirit of God draws your attention to in this painting. What is Jesus speaking to you here, now?

“I find it sadly appropriate that the greatest of all Last Supper paintings …. yet the eucharistic gift is infinitely more mysterious.”

Sister Wendy Beckett, The Art of Lent

When we are not able to gather together and share in this gift of the eucharist, the truth we can know and experience is, indeed, “a mystical means of communion with his risen body.” That it is mysterious, that it is spiritual, that it is made possible by the death and redemption of embodiment itself, does seem to make an embodied communion with those filled with that same Spirit somehow possible.

An ever-fading painting by a brilliant inventor-artist is instructive, a metaphor? That curators must constantly tend the painting in order to preserve the substance,

ethereal while visible –

yet nearly imperceptible,

teaches us the care and skill it requires to preserve the relationship

communion;

Within the self

with the community, the communion of saints

with the Triune God of the seen and unseen.

We are offered this communion daily, each moment,

now.

We need only tend the scene, attend the relationship –

restore the embodied by curating mystery.

On this holy day, Maundy Thursday, may the Spirit infuse, permeate your body, your mind, your soul; and may you enter – be present to – the last supper moments with Jesus. And may you do so at the pace of grace.

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About the author

Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

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