Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand towards heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.’ (Exodus 10:21)I am of the school that favors the second Proper Preface for Lent, the one that speaks of preparing with joy for the paschal feast. I don't believe we should call this coming Friday "good" and then treat it as a funeral. It is a celebration of the very costly victory of God in Christ. We would not gather to recall it if we did not know "how the story ends." By this I do not mean that Good Friday is not, or should not be, solemn. But I am not big on lugubrious and I try to keep a good, moving tempo in "Sing, my tongue, the victory telling...."
Still, I feel the impending darkness of Holy Week this year. The world's woes, the church's anguish, and those of individuals near and far weigh upon me, as the posts of the previous weeks make clear.
It is all right to feel that weight. It is OK to hurt, to weep, to grieve, to be uncomfortable. We, who spend so much of our lives running from discomfort, denying evil and death, covering reality over with a facade of smiles and pastel flowers can, for a while at the very least, set aside all that denial and pretension, crack the sugar icing, and look deep within.
We can sit with darkness.
We can feel it.
It is all right.
Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:51-52)We can feel the all-encompassing darkness of the blind man.
We can also allow our faith to stir, to rise up within us, to cry out, as he did, for help, to be importunate, to repeat our pleas.
And then we must face the difficult question.
What do we want?
May we sit with that for a while.
May the question tease us, haunt us, bless us.
May you have a very holy week indeed.
O Lord, in your goodness you bestow abundant graces on your elect: Look with favor, we entreat you, upon those who in these Lenten days are being prepared for Holy Baptism, and grant them the help of your protection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.