Good Zeal

Don we now…our aprons

If there is one non-liturgical item that is absolutely indispensible for a Christmas celebration at the monastery, it would have to be the lowly apron. This humble garment is like the tie that binds one activity to the next as we move through the celebration of Christmas Day here at the monastery – Christmas Breakfast, Lauds, Eucharist, Christmas dinner, Christmas party with egg nog and snacks, Vespers, supper… We don aprons, and then take them off, and then don them again, as we spend the day migrating like pilgrims between the chapel and the kitchen, between praying and eating, between worship and fellowship…finding every way we can to celebrate together the birth of our Lord.

Before each meal, the kitchen is filled with Sisters stirring, serving, slicing, and pouring…each wearing an apron that she has pulled from a simple tree rack where they hang like ornaments festooning an otherwise barren corner. With the meal ready to serve, the aprons are put away. After dinner, another set of Sisters, or perhaps some of the same ones, head to the rack, don an apron, and begin washing, scrubbing, drying, and storing…

Underlying the beauty of our various celebrations is humble service to one another. As an apron overlays and protects a garment, humility safeguards love. It is a tie that binds. In loving service to one another – whether careful preparation of the chapel for Mass, or the meal for the table, or the room for the guest, or the music for the liturgy, or the bed for the sick – we become a community that is able to celebrate not only with beauty and dignity, but with genuine faith and love. This requires donning, like an apron, the humility of Christ, serving one another with humble joy, festooning our life with gladness.

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