Some years My Utmost for His Highest's daily readings synch up beautifully with the liturgical calendar. This is one of those years.
The day after my mother died, I went through the motions of my day in a kind of aware numbness. I was aware of being in shock. The day I'd so often feared when younger had finally arrived, mercifully delayed by God until my sister and I were adults and out on our own. I felt exhausted. I was conscious of a profound sense of relief: I would never have to visit the hospital again and find her there, trying to keep going in spite of the mysterious illness which kept dragging her down and away from us.
Most of all, however, I just felt alone.
The soul who'd guided me and encouraged me... the one whose sense of humor was so keen and hilarious that it would never be equalled... the one who'd taken so much of my young years with her own mid-life miseries... she was gone, at last. Permanently, always, forever gone.
I felt abandoned. An orphan. I was thirty-five, but it didn't make any difference; I felt bereft. The sense of being alone was very keen, and very new.
On Holy Saturday, I can imagine that's how the apostles felt: shock, lostness, guilty relief that it was finally over. Most of all, though, they must have been so tempted to feel alone.
The temptation to doubt could never be any fiercer for anyone than it must have been for them. They'd trusted Him with everything - literally, their very souls. He had promised so much ... but He lay in the tomb, dead. Had they believed in just another one of those itinerant preachers that Gamaliel recounted, as told in Acts 5, who were slain and their followers scattered "and came to nothing"?
Holy Saturday, with the drama and agony of Friday past, and the hope of Easter ahead, is a day of profound interior quiet. Not rest; more like ... waiting. Bated breath. Listening, hoping...
After my mother died, I would sometimes have dreams about her. In my dreams, she was alive and well, usually with her beautiful tabac blonde hair hanging loose down her back, wearing a lovely white gown, her sea-green eyes bright, her manner peaceful and assured - none of the nervous tension and dithering that consumed her at times in her time on earth. In the dreams we talked, or did things together; inexplicable things, but all peaceful. I would wake refreshed, and feeling like I'd had a nice visit with her. Sometimes it would take me several moments to come fully awake and realize she was gone from my sight forever... the dreams were that real.
Did the apostles fear that they would only dream of Jesus returning? Did they look for Him in crowds?
When someone you love very much dies, you want to tell others about them. You want others to know how special they were, how much they meant ... but you know you cannot. They can understand only to the degree they, too, have lost someone so dearly loved... and some have not, and others don't want to even think about it. In sort of the same way, Jesus' little flock couldn't talk about Him to anyone outside "the family." They had to stay silent, waiting ... hoping ... listening. "He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead." Mark ix. 9.
-- Oswald ChambersThere must be communion with His risen life ...
Say nothing until the Son of man is risen in you--until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you understand what the historic Christ taught. When you get to the right state on the inside, the word which Jesus has spoken is so plain that you are amazed you did not see it before. ...
Our Lord does not hide these things; they are unbearable until we get into a fit condition of spiritual life. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." There must be communion with His risen life before a particular word can be borne by us.
May Jesus bless all those who go to communion tomorrow with His risen life - for real.