holy saturday

Limen is the Latin word for threshold.  A “liminal space” is the crucial in-between time—when everything actually happens and yet nothing appears to be happening.  It is the waiting period when the cake bakes, the movement is made, the transformation takes place.  One cannot just jump from Friday to Sunday in this case, there must be Saturday!  This, of course, was always the holy day for the Jewish tradition.  The Sabbath rest was the pivotal day for the Jews, and even the dead body of Jesus rests on Saturday, waiting for God to do whatever God plans to do.  It is our great act of trust and surrender, both together.  A new “creation ex nihilo” is about to happen, but first it must be desired. . . .

Remember, hope is not some vague belief that “all will work out well,” but biblical hope is the certainty that things finally have a victorious meaning no matter how they turn out.  We learned that from Jesus, which gives us now the courage to live our lives forward from here.  Maybe that is the full purpose of Lent.

–Richard Rohr, in Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent.

gentleness and compassion

“Part of the very essence of Christianity is to be together in a concrete community, with all the real human faults that are there and the tensions that this will bring us. Spirituality, for a Christian, can never be an individualistic quest, the pursuit of God outside of community, family, and church. The God of the incarnation tells us that anyone who says that he or she loves an invisible God in heaven and is unwilling to deal with a visible neighbor on earth is a liar since no one can love God who cannot be seen if he or she cannot love a neighbor who can be seen.” –Ronald Rolheiser, in The Holy Longing.

“Having to wait and wait and wait without answers, or direction, or an easing of the emptiness, can cause such anxiety in the dark of the tomb. Eastering can’t be rushed or forced and there are no clocks or calendars telling us when resurrection is going to happen.” Joyce Rupp, in Little Pieces of Light: Darkness and Personal Growth.

“Don’t harbor hateful anger or call people names in your heart like “fool” or “worthless person” (Matt 5:22). If you’re walking around all day saying in your heart, “What an idiot he is,” you’re living out of death, not life. If that’s what you think and feel, that’s’ what you will be, death energy instead of life force. Apparently, we cannot afford even inner disconnection from love.” –Richard Rohr, in Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

Being a Christian cannot be separated from living in a community of believers. In my life, this community has manifested itself as a wonderful conglomeration of deeply spiritual persons who consistently care for others, in body, in mind, and in soul. Some of these individuals would deny that they are deeply spiritual. And yet they love deeply, with love beyond all telling. In some cases, this love leads to great suffering and profound grief.

One of my favorite prayers in the Mass is when the celebrant says,

“Coming together as God’s family,
with confidence, let us ask the Father’s forgiveness,
for he is full of gentleness and compassion.”

When I started this blog, I did so because I believed that God had given me a voice, and this gift was something I needed to share. These past few days, finding this voice has been difficult. And yet somehow I know that this voice must embrace gentleness and compassion.

I ask you to pray for those who are suffering or experiencing profound grief in their communities. Especially those in my community of believers in Downingtown.