Come forth and live

A reflection on Holy Saturday

Morning has broken.It is Holy Saturday, the gap between death and resurrection, the gap in which those of us who have lost loved ones live. I have been reading this morning of other mothers who have survived, literally “live beyond” the deaths of their own children.

Women like Jennifer Hubbard, mother of Violet killed in Sandy Hook 2012 and Barbara Ann LaPorte, mother of Matthew, killed in the Virginia Tech shootings 2007. Both Jennifer and Barbara write of their love for their children and the gift of Grace they have received to take up their own crosses and walk to advocate for change on behalf of their children.

Mary Magdalene and the other women went to care for Jesus in the tomb but the stone had been rolled away and he was not there. Pope Benedict XVI reflects on their grief:

Despite the miraculous apparition of two angels sitting in the open tomb “one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been,” Mary Magdalene remains unmoved, consumed only by her grief. Two times heaven has to ask her (once via the angels, the second time by the risen Lord himself) woman, why are you weeping? She has come to her own fatalistic conclusion about what happened to Christ “they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where they laid him” and it is from this pessimism that she must be converted. When the risen Jesus speaks her name “Mary!” like the people on the day of Pentecost, she was “cut to the heart.” The risen Christ command to “stop holding on” pertains to our preconceptions and our stubbornness as well. Something greater than our sorrow is now at work in the world. It is the reason why, even in our weeping, we bend over and peer into the tomb, full of expectation.

There is something more to death than death. It sounds a bit simple but I have been struck by it many times in the three years and three months since Mack’s sudden death. Mack’s own journey and his legacy of love and passion continue and I stand in awe when I witness it.

It is strangely comforting to stay in the stinking tomb and confines of my mind where all of my “what ifs and shoulds” for Mack’s life fester. But, it is a suffocating place. Like all who hear the call of Jesus as he stands outside the tomb of our own selves and calls “Come forth!” I am afraid. But it is the path to life.

“In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it astounded me.” – St. Augustine (354-430)

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