In common with countless other churches in the Catholic Tradition, after our Maunday Thursday Mass at St. Michaels this evening, there will be an opportunity to retire to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to keep watch with The Lord in the garden of Gethsemane.
When I was growing up, our rather eccentric and flamboyant parish priest would conclude the watch at midnight by throwing thirty ten pence pieces down the aisle (I guess to represent the thirty pieces of silver, though I never asked).
The Blessed Sacrament chapel at St. Michaels is a very special place, it was here that the sacrament was first reserved in secret, in fact the chapel is a converted church porch. It is extraordinarily quiet, despite the fact that we are on one of the busiest thoroughfares into Birmingham you can hear a pin drop thanks to the colossal stone walls. I always feel there is something very powerful about praying in a stillness that is in the midst of the busyness. Outside the church life goes on while we keep watch, bringing before The Lord the needs of the world around us.
invariably my mind will wander at some points. I will remember the people and places I have had an association with all around the country, keeping watch with us, friends and colleagues, a countless number of faithful friends who no longer worship at any altar on earth, but in the silent cloud of witnesses. There is something incredibly moving about taking part in a act which at the very deepest level exists outside of time and space.