This evening I approach the Altar carrying Ciara.
Ciara’s cancer has recurred.
As I raise the bread and wine I’m staring at the figure of Christ hanging on the Cross that stands on the Altar.
And suddenly it’s not just the body and blood of Jesus in my hands but also the body and blood of Ciara.
There’s a oneness… I’m offering two bodies and bloods and they’ve become one… his body and blood so bruised and battered even before he’s raised on the Cross and her body and blood already marked and scarred – bruised and battered – by surgery and years of cancer treatment.
I can’t hold these bodies and bloods tenderly enough in my hands. I’m in awe… almost overcome by a mixture of reverence, respect, wonder and fear as I stare at a deep spiritual truth. I can’t move from the sight.
I have to work hard to stay present to the people in front of me.
I think of the generations who’ve embarked on this very path, the way of the Cross, especially the generations who gathered in this Shannon Chapel… one great procession through history making their way to the Cross… and resurrection.
For a moment I asked that He take my body instead of hers… and then I think how difficult that would be for all to whom I mean so much…
And instantly I think of all to whom she means so much and how difficult it is for them…