Sacred Spaces and Receptivity
Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member Jennifer Eburuoh admires the sacred art in the Casa San Salvador chapel. She allows the art to draw her deeper into prayer and to reflect on her year of service thus far.
The first day that I arrived at Casa San Salvador, I was immediately drawn to our chapel. The sacred space is not only a disarming and inviting home for our Lord but also houses much religious artwork. The artwork I imagine are gifts from returned missioners or the communities that they served. As I look at them, I try to imagine what stories they carry, whose faces and names bear these stories, how many laughs and tears were exchanged between persons. Ultimately, these signs and symbols lead me to wonder what I will carry with me after my year of service. As I continue to meditate and ponder this question, I call to mind a particular piece of art in the chapel. I believe the image gives insight into what it means to be a part of FMS.
The image is a wooden sketch of St. Francis with his eyes raised to heaven facing a radiant sun. St. Francis’ face is a model of contentment and peace and a demonstration of receptivity towards the light flowing down from Brother Sun. It is striking to remember that he admires the same sun which shines outside my window. Further, the image reminds me that St. Francis lived a life of receptivity towards all of creation. The image draws me to ponder how the life of a Franciscan is a life of striving to deeply unite oneself to the reality of our interconnectedness, our oneness with God and creation. Hence, one of the joys of my first weeks as a member of FMS has been encountering more deeply Franciscan spirituality and the life of St. Francis.
As I adapt to life in the Casa and the first few weeks at my ministry site in Washington DC, I have challenged myself to remember to look up at the sun in appreciation and awe. In doing so, I grow in awareness of my dependence on God and the intercession of members of the Franciscan family.
Also, as I settle into a daily routine at the Casa, I make sure to spend some private time each day in the chapel. I appreciate being surrounded by reminders that I have not only become a member of the Casa community but also a centuries-long tradition of living out the Franciscan charism. Ultimately, I pray for the humility to receive the many lessons and graces that will come with this year.
Question for Reflection: How does sacred art in your home or in your favorite place to pray inspire you to reflect on your life?