Living in a world without Jesus

by | Mar 29, 2013 | Formation | 1 comment

We have all experienced that awful moment when we realize that someone we love is no longer with us.

In a guest post Susan Stabile invites us to enter into the experience of the disciples of Jesus – their world without Jesus.

Today is Holy Saturday, the day on which we wait at the tomb.

This is the time during which Jesus “descended into hell,” as we proclaim when we recite the Apostles’ Creed. The morning prayer in the Magnificat comments in respect of this proclamation that “God does not redeem from afar. The Word descended into our humanity; the Lord descended into the depths of our suffering; Christ descended into the very realm of death itself in order to set free its captives.”

In a meditation on Holy Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI said this:

Holy Saturday is the day of the ‘death of God,’ the day which expresses the unparalleled experience of our age, anticipating the fact that God is simply absent, that the grave hides him, that he no longer awakes, no longer speaks, so that one no longer needs to gainsay him but can simply overlook him….Christ strode through the gate of his final loneliness; in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is he. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more accurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer. Neither is the same any longer because there is life in the midst of death, because love dwells in it.

In between preparations for our celebration of the Resurrection, take some time today to honor this day. Be with the Holy Saturday experience.

From an earlier poston the same theme…

“Today is Holy Saturday, the day that falls between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We have a tendancy to view this day as preparation for Easter – we do our shopping for Easter dinner with our friends and relatives, or perhaps we help get the church ready for the Easter Vigil. However, it is a day that offers us a special opportunity for contemplation.

“In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, “tomb day” is the transition between Weeks 3 and 4 of the exercises, that is, between our contemplation of Jesus’ passion and our contemplation of His resurrection. During that transition, we are invited to experience what Mary and the disciples experienced after Jesus’ death….to experience Jesus’ death and absence. Ignatius believed that in order to fully appreciate the significance of Jesus’ rising for us, we have to appreciate what his death really means.

“Thus, in Ignatian terms, Holy Saturday is an invitation to envision a world without Jesus. To try to experience it in a real and personal way. The instruction for prayer during “tomb day” in the Spiritual Exercises is to be with the disciples and with Mary and the other women in their grief over losing Jesus. To actually be with them – taking Jesus body off the cross, washing and annointing it, placing it in the tomb and watching the rock being rolled across the tomb’s entrance. Be with Mary and the other disciples afterwards. Wherever they go, go with them. Whatever they are doing, do it with them. One instruction for the tomb experience says, “Let the effect of Jesus’ death permeate your whole being and the world around you for the whole day.”

“We are invited today to spend some time in that space between death and resurrection. It is a good invitation to accept.

Graphic courtesy of FreeBibleImages

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