farewells

The icon of the Trinity was painted around 1410 by Andrei Rublev

It depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre –

but is often interpreted as an icon of the Trinity.

It is sometimes called the icon of the Old Testament Trinity.

The image is full of symbolism – designed to take the viewer into the Mystery of the Trinity.

All the figures wear a blue garment – the colour of the heavens…

but each wears something that speaks of Their own identity

(You can read more about this icon at http://www.wellsprings.org.uk/rublevs_icon/trinity.htm)

“Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth. He said, my lord if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. let me bring a little bread that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on-since you have come to your servant. so they said, Do as you have said” (Genesis 18 1-6)

This was the icon in the little chapel of Sr. Marie Louise at Fr.Bede Griffith’s ashram in India.
This sister was a teacher and during the time I was there, I noticed how she trained all the young people who came to help. There were a few who helped in the kitchen and the work keeping the hermitages clean. They came to the prayers and meditations in the little chapel

The day before leaving, Sister Marie-Louise organized a farewell. We were called to their little chapel before dinner and Ruby, the blind girl, sang my favorite hymn of Tagore, “Day after day, O Lord of my life, do I stand before Thee face to face”.  Her singing is so beautiful, I choked up.

The beautiful icon of the Trinity by Rublev, stood on the wall in evidence and as it stands out as an example of the faith of Abraham and of his great spirit of hospitality.

Here too,they also wanted to have this icon at the center of our prayer this evening. They had, over the past weeks,been offering their hospitality to a visitor who came from afar and now that he was leaving, they felt it appropriate to say farewell with this image at the center.

After the prayers, Sr. Marie Louise asked me to say a few words and at the end, the ceremony  was done by offering lights and incense. Then to my surprise, they turned to me and offered the light as a farewell blessing. These are some of the images that remain in my mind of the wonderful time spent in this ashram in South India.

Now I am reading in my journal and memories of those days how the time had flown and thoughts of returning to Canada were coming into my mind. Among the notes I read:

“On the morning of the 29th August 1982, reading the daily news paper, I saw there was a small note about Ma Ananda Mayi. It said that in Dehra Dhun on the 27th August, Ma had passed away peacefully. She was 88. She was one of the greatest saints that India has ever known.I will never forget her.”

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