Holy Saturday is always one of the quietest days in the Church year. Like the Apostles and Mary, we are waiting for the Resurrection. We are scattered to all parts of the earth. We are afraid that the enemy will come after us. Since we are most frightened, we are also most afraid. Our Lord is gone and we are afraid that He will never return to us again.
Easter is around the corner, but there is still a great deal of desolation on Holy Saturday. Amidst the hundreds of little chores that we do today, we think about how Christ is lying in the tomb. He is there and yet He is not there. Rather, He has gone to Hell to free the righteous from their tombs. He has gone to lead death captive and to open the doors to eternal life. He is in the tomb, yes, but He is doing so much for us while He is there.
Many times during His life, Our Lord was hidden from us. He was hidden in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, He was hidden during his childhood and early adulthood at Nazareth, and He is hidden once again in the tomb where He was laid last night. In the lives of religious sisters and monks, particularly contemplatives, there is a similar sense of hiddenness.
Like Our Lord in the tomb and the tabernacle, they are also hidden from the world. We do not see the Poor Clares, the Carmelites, or the Trappists, but we know that they are there. They are praying with us and for us every day of their lives. Their prayers are constantly ascending to God as clouds of fragrant incense to the Most High. Yet their lives are hidden. We do not know anything about these monks and nuns. Sometimes, we don’t even know what they look like. But we know that they are praying for us and for the Church as a whole.
In each of us, there is an element of that same hiddenness that is part and parcel of Christ’s forty hours in the tomb. Each and every one of us lives a hidden life with Christ. Our life of prayer, for the most part, is not something that can be seen or sensed externally. We live deep within our own hearts and souls. Unless we have been gifted to see God face to face like St. Teresa of Avila or St. Catherine of Siena, our communication with God is hidden in the silence of our hearts and in the deepest recesses of the soul.
Our spiritual life, unless we are willing to open the latch and look at our soul, is very much hidden from us in the ordinary duties that we carry out every single day. We may walk the dog, wash the dishes, do the laundry, or drive a car to work. We may do numerous other things during our day as part of our “routine.” Yet as we go about almost senselessly through our day, we often tend to forget that getting things done is only part of what we are here for. Indeed, we forget that hidden part which Our Lord called “the greater portion.”
That “greater portion” is to be found in those moments of silence when we are praying or meditating. It is then that Our Lord comes to us and we speak to Him. He comes to us hidden because we would die if we saw Him as He is. Yet He still arrives at our door and knocks. He knocks because He wants to converse with us about our day and the things we have done. He wants to converse with us about our hidden lives. He gives us spiritual direction.
Holy Saturday is a perfect day for us to contemplate Our Lord in the tomb and to ask ourselves about what we truly do not know about the spiritual life. It is a time to plumb the depths of our hearts and to bring out new resolutions for the future. Perhaps, we will see how good it is for us to be hidden with Christ in God.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!