Sometime during the unpacking and sorting things out in this house I came across a metal crucifix which I’d forgotten about.
It had lost the little loop of wire which was thread through the hole at the top of the cross so that it could be hung on a wall, and I had stuck it in a drawer, intending to fix it.
I remembered that I used to make a lot more use of sacramentals, especially religious medals, scapulars, gifts or letters from people I thought were holy, but a lot of that has gone by the way in recent years.
I keep most of our stuff out of sight in drawers and cupboards now, to have things more streamlined, less cluttered, easier to clean. I am practical now. Less dreamy. More interested in how to do my daily work for God, and much less occupied with daily love of God.
I almost moved the crucifix from the packing box into my bedside drawer again, along with a packet of medals depicting the Holy Family and a brown scapular. We’re renting, I reasoned. We’ve used all the hooks that the owners put on the walls, and we have a crucifix up already in the rumpus room.
But I stopped when I thought that if I couldn’t find another spot for Jesus in the house during Lent, then when would I? Throwing it away would be little more disrespectful than returning it to the darkness of a drawer again.
So I put that crucifix in the best place I could think of, the kitchen, where I spend most of my time when I’m at home. On the lovely, large counter it is the only thing permitted to stay in a corner between the sink and the stove where it is constantly in sight as I prepare meals and clean up.
It’s not too small, about 15cm long, and it’s just lying there, so whenever I wipe down the counter I have to pick it up to move it. And so I have occasion sometimes to kiss the corpus when I never would normally think to do so.
It has been a comfort to me through these busy days, reminds me to say a quick prayer for help during the evening ‘witching’ hour, reminds me to enforce grace before meals.
It reminds me why I don’t reach into the cupboard above it for the coffee tin each morning, for love of Jesus and as a very tiny little act of solidarity with him on the cross.
On days when I’ve had to fight my overtiredness, boredom, impatience, or resentment, it’s been a boost to see that Jesus literally is in my corner.
It’s been a little thing just for me, and I didn’t think Peter had really noticed it or given it a thought other than that I hadn’t found a proper home for that crucifix yet.
“I can help you with your column next week; you can write about Jesus over there,” Peter told me after cooking dinner last Sunday.
I try to keep that corner with the crucifix clear of other things.
But Peter had been preparing his ingredients there and while cooking had made a whole meditation about how sometimes in life Jesus seems hidden or absent (because Peter had accidently put a lid on top of the crucifix or the margarine tub obscured it) but really he is always there.
As he chopped chillies he thought of how God is with us in the simple routines of our lives, of how we’ve received God’s love manifested through other family members at countless other meal times. So there you go; two completely different responses to Jesus because that crucifix is there in our way.
At Easter time I will probably move it to a wall somewhere but I think that for us the kitchen counter is the best place to keep a seasonal sacramental – putting a reminder of God right in our way so that we have to notice it.