Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Windows

The stained glass windows in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the Marian Shrine contain almost no traditional Christian symbols. One image that forms the foundation for both sides is the earth, the “aina”, a precious concept for the people of this land and, hopefully, for all of us. We also see a rainbow, beginning and ending in each window, spanning the entrance to our Church: it is not only a common sight in our lands, it is mostly a sign of God’s love for us, the renewal of His Covenant with us, as we know from Genesis 3:19.

The main thought in the Marian Shrine window is, of course, Mary … but in her role as “Mother.” There is the imagery of creation, life coming forth. Even as the oozing lava creates the face of the earth, new life in the green plants seen sprouting forth from desolation is clear. Living creatures abound on earth, in the sea and the sky. The land is itself created and the land still brings forth life. (Since the human image of Mary is already present in statue form in the Shrine area, it is not duplicated in the window.) Mary brought forth the Savior Who then brought life everlasting to all. From the stump springs the Shoot; from the desolation of sin comes New Life.

The Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, is the BREAD OF LIFE. It nourishes and sustains the New Life we now have through the saving act of Jesus: to suffer, to die, to rise. The earth, too, is a source of nourishment, as is the sea and even the sky. The earth brings forth life. (Since God is physically present in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, the images of wheat and grapes, hosts and chalices seemed trite and were not included in the window.) Breadfruit, pineapple, mango, banana, sugarcane … almost gone, but how it has sustained life! – The Hawaiian word “aina” means land, earth, the word “aina” means, meal. Our Sacred Meal nourishes and sustains us.

When you stand inside one of these rooms, close your eyes and try to imagine what you might see outside, if the townhouses, asphalt, street lights, cars – all that we have placed on the earth, in the way – were gone. Open your eyes! Look and see!! If you still have difficulty finding meaning in these very beautiful windows, take a small child by the hand and stand in front of one of them. Watch and listen, as the little one, with unbridled excitement finds a snail and a bird and a flower and a dolphin. Watch and listen, as the little one points out the face of God! Look and see!! Open your mind and heart and soul. Look and see!!

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