Pre-Easter Ponderings

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):

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2 Responses to Pre-Easter Ponderings

  1. Thank you Susan, beautifully said. Yes, our hearts are like the tabernacle, empty and waiting to be refilled with God.

  2. Kim says:

    Susan, good thoughts to ponder. I am glad to have some quiet time, after lots of family gathering here and celebrating two birthdays and an egg hunt today, to reflect upon the meaning of this time period.

    Like you, I find it a challenge to keep the conscious awareness of His suffering and my inability to pay that price in the forefront of my days. We just don’t seem to be programmed to purposely remain acutely aware of sorrow, shame, guilt, and grief, or of the joyous realization that He is risen indeed! That is why it is good for us to have the marked days of observation, to remember afresh and to go back into that “tomb”, once again.

    I enjoyed the link to the 15th Antiphon, which I’d never heard before. Hauntingly beautiful. I closed my eyes to listen, leaned back my head, and because I had just been reading about the horrors of abortion shortly before reading your post, my mind’s eye was alternating between imaging our Lord on the Cross and the little late term, dead infant I had seen a photo of, who had been burned by a saline abortion. The magnitude of the sin His death covered is not something we can grasp this side of Heaven.

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