Today is Holy Saturday. It is a forgotten day, an intermission to the action - Holy Saturday is what happens between death and new life.
At the same time, today is just a normal Saturday, another weekend in quarantine, which likely resembles all other days this week, and the week before and the weeks to come. Holy Saturday is intended to be liminal and transformational space where time stands still, but your space is probably anything but transformational as time spins in a circle like a dog chasing her tail. So what does Holy Saturday have to offer us?
Between the cries of Good Friday and alleluias of Easter, Holy Saturday offers us emptiness. We don’t get to focus on a cross or the backdrop of an empty tomb - we look into Saturday and see nothing but a void. We call out into the cave, but not even our own echos can be heard. There is nothing but you, nothing but me, alone with our unmet longings, desires and emptiness.
We often know what to do with our emptiness, especially during this quarantine. We feel anxious, so we feel numb; we feel lonely, so we find ways to not feel so alone; we feel hungry, we go to the kitchen. As one friend recently said about being self-isolated, “Everyone is looking for God in the refrigerator.” But today has no soothing to provide. We do not have the commiseration of Good Friday nor the celebration of Easter, but we walk in this liminal space with nothing to grasp, we speak with no voice or expression to let us know we are heard.
Robert Bly writes, “...in [liminal] space, both men and women learn to experience the emptiness or the longing and not to fill it.” (Iron John, 195). Ronald Rolheiser in his book The Holy Longing says this, “Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and hope they bring us, that is our spirituality” (5).
We’ve been told as children that God will fill our emptiness and satisfy the desires of our heart. And this is a good first step and something essential to remember, as it establishes and renews trust. But in order to mature and continue growing we must experience our emptiness and not fill it.
Today as you go about your day, receive your reality as it comes. Welcome the emptiness, the nothingness, the void. Be awakened to your desire, notice the moments where liminal space tries to break through. You don’t need to do anything, simply be aware of it in the presence of God.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,