A quiet moment in a chapel turned into a bit of a Revelation to me the other day.
I was decidedly an adjunct to the proceedings – the final stages of a repair job to liturgical art in the chapel. A task suggested by our eldest son (Fr. Chris Schroeder SJ), and performed with loving dexterity by my dear wife Gerri. I literally came along for the ride…and the promise of an invitation to join the pair for an early Mother’s Day lunch.
The task at hand: Replacing tesserae in the mosaics that adorn the tabernacle in the chapel at DeSmet Jesuit High School. The colorful tiles had come loose at some point over the past 40+ years of their service life…and were in need of a deft hand to reset them, and fully restore the tabernacle’s simple beauty.
The chapel’s processional cross required similar attention – work that Gerri had done at our home…where she has fashioned a bit of a mosaics studio in recent months, a place to give her creative energies an outlet.
That’s the thing, the God-spark I noticed: Gerri had gotten into doing mosaics quite independently of this trip to DeSmet’s chapel. Indeed, she’d begun developing the talent even before our son received his assignment to serve as chaplain at the high school.
But it all came together, beautifully, on this otherwise ordinary day: A son, relishing his mother’s newly developed artistic talent; a mother, generously sharing her gifts with the very school that had helped her nourish the son’s vocation to the priesthood.
Tesserae, these tiny colorful pieces from our lives: all coming together to somehow form a new whole. It was a blessing to witness the story: to sit with the beauty of this liturgical art…to meditate on the beauty of the story behind the art…to appreciate how we each are called to play a role, if even just a small role, in the bigger picture of salvation.
It is a mother’s art, to be sure. A mother’s love, after all, provides our first connection to the Body of Christ. And the Evangelist reminds us today how transformative it can be…when we choose to channel this love, and reconnect with its ultimate source:
I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.