© LEV Detail of a mosaic by Father Rupnik (Redemptoris Mater Chapel in Vatican City), illustrating the Gospel episode in which Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. «And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume» (John 12,3).
"E tutta la casa si riempì del profumo dell’unguento” (“And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”): this is the title of the book by Cardinal Fernando Filoni published by the Vatican Publishing House which will be available in bookstores in Italian from the second half of December 2020. Other language versions will follow in 2021.
During the lockdown the Grand Master of the Order dedicated himself with attention and care to drafting this text which aims to sustain Knights and Dames in living their spirituality daily in the light of the Holy Sepulchre.
In the prologue, Cardinal Filoni writes: “Often members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem pose the question as to whether membership of this ancient and noble institution implies a specific ‘spirituality’. This is a pertinent question given that it is not a simply honorific chivalric Order; rather it is a vital and active entity with responsibility and commitments that have been gradually entrusted to it by Pontiffs.”
The text then takes the reader by the hand and accompanies him in the discovery of the two central dimensions of the spirituality of the Order: the biblical and the ecclesiological. From the anointing of Bethany to the foot of the Cross, from the empty tomb to the stretch of road travelled with the disciples of Emmaus, Cardinal Filoni invites us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in the land we cherish so much and in the holy land of our daily lives. The grace granted to us in baptism introduces us into the life of the Church, the mother who accompanies the journey of the Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. It is in this ecclesial dimension, firmly attached to the Word of God, to prayer and to the sacraments that the spirituality of the Order grows, matures and becomes a gift for the Universal Church.
Today we discover that the ointment with which Mary ardently desires to anoint the body of Jesus, is in our hands today. We can choose what to do with it, and over the centuries Knights and Dames have been offered one proposal: “Membership of the Order allows us to continue the same work of Mary of Bethany, that is to anoint ourselves the ‘Body of Christ’, which is the Church, in which Jesus now lives. I refer to the Church in its universal and local reality, but, in particular as members of the Order, to the Mother Church of all the Churches, that of Jerusalem with its faithful, pilgrims, refugees, the poor that Jesus left to us,” the Grand Master affirms.
By fulfilling this mission, anointing the Body of Christ today, we will contribute for our small part to spread the perfume of the ointment in the house we have the joy of living in, our Church.