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Uncomfortably numb ...

Saturday, April 07, 2007
Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the great, the supreme, solitude. Everything is empty. There is no meaning. Nothing makes sense. God is dead and all meaning with him. Our lives are like clocks without hands. With Jesus’ death on the Cross, the whole of humanity has lost its aim. When humankind kills God, nothing can make sense anymore. Since we seem to have had the last word, we have in our finiteness the root of all destruction. If the end of the story is humanity’s own destruction, what can we hope for?

Good Friday showed us that in order to be human, we have to accept our own frailty, fundamentally our humanity, and to live it until the end. But today, there is no suffering. Holy Saturday reveals our need to give meaning. But what meaning can we give? Everything is calm and empty. After the storm, our ship is lost on a calm sea, a lukewarm sea without tide. No meaning. No map. No compass. We are facing something much more pernicious than suffering: insensibility. It is painful to cry for someone we love, a friend, a brother. But, surprisingly, it is even more difficult to have nobody to cry for, to have nothing to believe, no risk to take! It entails a more profound and more painful sense of emptiness …

Sometimes, in our lives, suffering is so deep that we become numb. We do not feel pain. All has become uncomfortably numb! We are lukewarm, neither cold as we were on Good Friday, nor hot as we will be at Easter. This is a most distasteful feeling (cf Revelation 3:16). Nevertheless, this feeling of emptiness is sometimes necessary. The black and white portrait of our humanity has to be accepted and integrated into our lives if they are to be drawn with the colorful divine ink. Though difficult, Holy Saturday is absolutely necessary. Were Easter to occur directly after Good Friday, this would lead to perverse theologies trying to give sense to our sufferings. They do not have meaning by themselves.

Holy Saturday is given to us to tame the meaninglessness, to tame the emptiness of our lives. We have to tame what is an empty tomb without testimony … Holy Saturday then is highly important, theologically and anthropologically. It rules out fanaticism, thwarts theologies giving simple meaning to suffering, destroys any concept of deism, and makes space for 'not knowing', a form of agnosticism which is necessary to our freedom. In that respect, Holy Saturday underlines a deep reality —often forgotten— of our faith. There is a kind of distance between God and us. There can be an absence of God. God can become superfluous. Hence, paradoxically, he will be able to become necessary for us ...


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