Waiting for Easter

The clouds rolled in on that Friday called good. What was I doing? My Lent was a mess. After two years of living Lent, I wanted to go back in time, to simply fast and pray. It happened, but halfway through I dropped the prayer and the fasting cost me my peace.

On Holy Thursday I read about a 3-D image researchers created from the Shroud of Turin, the greatest understanding we now have of how Christ might have looked. I felt propelled into the Triduum, into thoughts of him.

And Good Friday came.

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In the depths of my youthful, adolescent, spiritual zeal, Good Friday was unspeakably painful. I was lost without my Lord in the Tabernacle.

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When we began to live our Lent, first at Benioff Children’s Hospital, then, last year, with visits to the cemetery, I no longer looked for suffering. I looked for hope.

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I lived in Lent. More than any other season since my Celeste died, this season made sense. But how could Easter? I looked past the cross and saw nothing. I no longer knew what life meant beyond the cross.

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And as the dawn of Good Friday rose, and I with it, I felt a radical peace. Christ was with us at each step, intimately. He bore all suffering in his life, and he bore it perfectly. He walked with us, and he will show me the way as I try to live in hope and peace.

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Then maybe, just maybe, as I keep my heart open from this place of being totally understood, he will teach me what it means to hope in the Resurrection.

 

“There would come a time when God would fill what he had emptied,”

Br. Benito, S.J., quoted by Mother Teresa in Come by my Light.

 

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TRIDUUM (THREE): HE DRAWS ALL MEN TO HIMSELF

The girl felt far away, as though she could not reach him. She could not look. The girl did not dare look. If she looked she would see her beloved hung on the cross. She heard descriptions descriptions, but she could not picture it. This was pain incarnate. The king was there now. Her head was not turned away from him. She could hear his pain in her heart but the girl tried to absent her heart. His mother…where did his mother stand? She stood at the foot. The girl’s head stood only a little taller than where his feet were nailed.

She had to look. This was her king. The past two years she had had so much to do on this day. The girl had walked all day; she did not have time to look. But here she was. The girl’s heart cried out, aching for her for her to only turn her eyes! He was right behind her, closer to the right side than to the left. The girl began to turn in that direction, slowly. Her shoulder first, her head last. She turned. Her head came slowly. Oh God!

Her head hung to the left and her eyes were closed. They opened a little, but squinted at the ground. She fixed her eyes on the foot of the cross. It was covered in his blood. Her eyes raised and she saw his feet with nails going through them. Looking up she saw him in the same agony. She forced herself to keep looking. She wanted to turn away. She wanted to close her eyes. She looked on his body, wracked with pain. The girl’s body shook. Her eyes rested on his arms, his hands, his chest, and finally…and finally, his face. Oh her king! She did not even recognize him!

And, as in that battle, the whole world stood still. He stood tall, bound against the wood, and he looked at her with love, not with a love of consolations but with a love of the cross. Her king was broken in body and in agony. His love was full of pain, but so much the fuller for it. Her king! He was still a king. He would always be, even though she could not recognize him. He would always be: yesterday, today, and forever. He was her king.

When it was finished, the girl was a better servant than before. She saw his great love, his service, his sacrifice, and she understood more than before. And she longed to be his, to love him, and be purified and live on. She was his beloved, his daughter, his sister, and his bride. She belonged to him. And in his love, he belonged to her.