instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, April 17, 2006

Resting in peace

It's a pity the way some of the best writing on St. Blog's happens during Holy Week, which is also a week when people are especially likely to not read blogs. Come Easter Monday, the profound and moving reflections on the passion and death of Christ have all the shelf appeal of plastic leprechaun hats at the grocery story on March 18th.

I overstate somewhat.

But Fra Lawrence has managed that most difficult task: writing a post about Holy Saturday, the S. ratti of the liturgical calendar, that is topical for more than sixteen hours a year.

He does this by quoting Fr. Geoffrey Preston, OP, in his book Hallowing the Time. Fr. Preston inverts a familiar metaphor to suggest that sleep is a kind of death:
How do we learn to die? By practising dying. How do we practise dying? By going to sleep properly night after night, letting the past day go and saying: 'Into your hands I commend my spirit.' Then we discover that it is not just obedience and acceptance of our biological situation but that we can freely and even gladly choose to fall asleep and to die. It can be a matter not just of necessity but of salvation.
This relates to something else Sr. Mary Martin de Porres of Jesus said in her Holy Thursday sermon:
We religious voluntarily make a vow of obedience until death, but the dying observe all the vows whether they want to or not.
The dying lack the strength to be physically disobedient, unchaste, or rich, but as long as their will remains they may (must, actually) choose whether to accept God's will for them. In His mercy, God gives us the opportunity to practice making this choice every night.

The Lord is Risen, Alleluia!