My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish'd thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.
It stood among the tumbledown, discarded jumble of the family in a rarely visited room at the back of the house. Every now and again someone would come in to add new junk to the pile of unwanted things. More rarely a servant would seek to retrieve something useful from the mass or a child would look for an unusual object with which to play, allowing her imagination to make up for the deficiencies and blemishes of the unwanted-by-grown-ups item chosen.
The broken bowl sat upon a shelf and she was a sad sight to behold. At some time in the long, long distant past careless hands had let her slip from a great height and she had fallen hard upon the tessellated floor. The favourite of her mistress an attempt had been made to put her back together but it had not been a success. Great gaps were left in her fabric and long cracks, visible and ugly, criss-crossed her face. For sentiment's sake she had not been cast out into the darkness but had been allowed to remain, if only just, within the family home.
Yet what use was a broken bowl? However perfect she had been when leaving the hand of her maker now she was marred and unable to fulfil the purposes for which she had been created. Yet she waited, patiently she waited. Who knew but that at some point her time would come. Perhaps the accident would turn out to be a happy fault and a new and better destiny awaited her. No one could see what good she could ever be but many things that seemed impossible to men nonetheless were true.
Night had long fallen after a pleasant day in early spring. Still she sat on her shelf. Still she waited. Still she was patient. Suddenly the room was infused with a transcendent light. A tongue, as it were of fire, descended upon her and a fierce heat penetrated every fibre of her. She was melting and being transformed from above. Every molecule, every atom danced and moved and changed. Broken no more, dullness and dust banished and clear brightness shining from her.
The next day Kyrios the Greek servant came into the lumber room grumbling to himself as was his way when made to work harder than he liked.
"Quickly he says. We need another cup he says or we will not have enough for all the guests. Where does he think I can find another cup at this time? Am I a miracle wor..."
Suddenly he stopped. He had seen the reforged bowl. His jaw dropped and his face, never handsome at the best of times, acquired a gaping, stupid ugliness. Picking the bowl-turned-chalice up almost reverentially he appraised it with expert eyes.
"The gods must highly favour this banquet" he said (his Judaism being only skin deep) "they have left us this golden thing which will perfectly suit the Principle Guest." Kyrios then hurried away with the reforged bowl to add it to the table setting for the newly arrived party of pilgrim guests,
The meal proceeded, in turns solemn and merry as often happens when friends gather together to celebrate their friendship and recall their shared sufferings. Finally the Principal Guest took up the reforged bowl. After thanking God He raised it saying
"This is my blood"
Like the Catholic Scot Facebook page
My other blog is thoughtfully detached
The painting is The Grail Damsel by Dante Gabriel Rossetti