Holy Saturday. Thursday was Maundy Thursday, with an evening church service to celebrate the institution of the Eucharist. It ended with the stripping of the altar, in which every ornament is removed. At the end, the altar is completely bare, and the tabernacle door stands open to show its emptiness. It is as though Jesus has gone and our hope is no more. We are left bereft, sheep without a Shepherd.
Friday, Good Friday, was the celebration of the Passion, when we remember the Lord’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. Reading the Stations of the Cross is like walking alongside Him as He carries the instrument of his tortured death, and watching as He is executed. It is almost too much to bear, even from this distance. No wonder the disciples all fled.
All this brings to the forefront of my mind the sheer magnificence of God’s generosity toward us, and these acts’ utter worthiness of gratitude. If I lived every moment of my life in conscious gratefulness, it would not be enough. And yet, I have to live – to work and laugh and think and play – and I know God wants us to live these things fully. So, most days, that compelling gratefulness gets pushed into a compartment in my mind and heart.
During Lent I always kind of dread the approach of these days, because I know the door to that compartment will be opened, and I will have to confront His overwhelming sacrifice and my inability ever to repay it. But when the time comes, how good it is to feel the truth of it all.
Today is Holy Saturday, when Jesus’ body lies sealed in the tomb. It is a time to ponder the meaning of these things. Here is a link to something sublime, that carries me through (with thanks to Fr. Thomas):