Beauty often speaks with colors, shapes, images, symbols, and stories. The early thirteenth century tabernacle depicted here held the communion reserve of the cathedral during a Maundy Thursday watch-night service. Its presence supported those gathered for prayer in the crypt of the Chartres Cathedral in France as they entered deeply into the love of God. This sacred liturgical object called forth reverence for Christ, awe, vulnerability, and hope.
To sit or kneel, sing, reflect, and pray in the presence of such beauty overwhelms me. I shake internally. I cry without knowing why. I am lifted effortlessly beyond myself into a deep desire for the well-being of others. There are no words to describe the joy of giving myself over to such beauty and allowing it to carry me where it will. The fruit of my attentiveness and contemplation include creativity, love, and faithful service.
My prayer is that you will find something beautiful to contemplate this Holy Weekend. May its gift to you be a deep sense of how lovely God is. May it carry you where you need to go so that you can follow in Christ’s footsteps in order to serve God and others through many beautiful acts of love. May it be so!
To know more about the Tabernacle of St. Aignan (in French): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU29wf9aW_M
The only other known 13th century tabernacle made in Limoges, France is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.