Maundy Thursday Prayer


Lord Jesus, when You washed the disciples’ feet,
did You see mine too?

They aren’t very pretty,
after all these years:
many times the shoes they’ve worn
conscience warned against;
sometimes they’ve strayed among the briers,
wandering from your word,
and dark has been the journey home
though You were always near;
illness, too, has made them weak,
sorrows left their marks,
and serpent bites still swell the sores
of bitterness and grief.

Lord Jesus, is there water left
for these feet of mine?

Then You can wash away the pain,
with Your healing hands:
the hands that made the mournful dance
the dead restored to life,
the hands that lifted up the weak,
removed the leper’s shame,
that stilled the raging winds and waves,
and opened ears and hearts.

Yet Your blood has cleansed this guilty soul,
Your truth has set me free.
Your Spirit breathes Your life in me,
and Your voice I plainly hear
telling Your great love for me,
how much You hold me dear,
that for my sake Your feet have walked
the way of suffering,
had driven through their holy flesh,
the nails upon the tree.

If ever I could wash Your feet
unworthy as I am,
it would be as the weeping harlot did
with tears of wondering love
that God Most High came down to me
to wash with His own blood
these stumbling, sin-stained feet of mine
that I may live before His throne
throughout eternity.

Carlo Dolci, The Penitent Magdalene (c. 1670)

John 13: 3-10
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

*image: The Penitent Magdalen, c.1670 (oil on canvas) by Carlo Dolci (1616-86)

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