It's Holy Saturday - some totally random thoughts.
I finished the icon-style painting I made of Blessed Alberto Marvelli. I still have to 'varnish' the panel, but I laid the gold leaf last night. My Lenten work is complete... which brings me to the emptiness of Holy Saturday. The feeling of being a useless servant, having only done my duty - and not very well at that.
The reason we seek diversions and satisfactions in life is because of our fear of annihilation - the silence of Holy Saturday reminds me of that.
I went to my local parish for Holy Thursday. It was rather strange. I'm good with just reading the Gospel of the washing of the feet - but the Church makes the call to do it - although I think maybe the practice should be limited to the cathedrals. Anyway. At my parish I had no idea that the custom is to wash one another's feet. Personally I don't care if they wash cat's feet, it really doesn't seem necessary. I'm just fine with not following the rubrics and washing women's feet - for 'pastoral reasons' of course - I know! I'm just not into the performance aspect. But I digress.
So they washed each other's feet, which meant many pitchers of water and a whole lot of musical chairs style action going on. Perhaps it was meaningful to the people who had their feet washed, I don't know. Watching the whole spectacle is what inspired my thoughts about washing cat's feet - you would only need three cats to have twelve feet - although, since half the congregation went forward for the foot bath, it was a lot more than twelve feet. Confused? Me too. But I don't care because I was there for the Mass.
After Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was reposed in an unadorned tabernacle, on an unadorned altar of repose - very Cistercian I thought. The doors were left open. A few people remained for adoration, but soon left. The doors remained open. I remained somewhat longer, but left as I heard the doors of the Church being locked - I wanted to stay, but I was sure the tabernacle would be moved into the sacristy, and I didn't want to watch how that was done - better not to look. It was 9 PM. The doors remained open on the tabernacle as I left.
All in all, it was a very odd experience. I try to roll with stuff - I've always been like that. It is what it is - it was my experience of Holy Thursday - the holiness of the night wasn't affected in the least - for me. I don't like it when people decry the abuses and proclaim the rubrics, while condemning the ministers and congregants. Especially while people are trying to pray. And since I was trying to pray, I decided not to go back to my parish church until after Easter.
Oh. Comments remain closed by the way. I sort of just want to say what I want to say and be done with it.
With comments closed, I'm not tempted to worry as much about pleasing people, or choosing my words as carefully. (I also don't have to drop everything just to check comments.) Someone, somewhere, wrote something about Merton and his concerns about writing and seeking self through it: seeking approval, recognition and reputation, and so on. It reminded me of what Christ said to the Pharisees, "How can you believe when you accept praise from one another?"
I do that both with my painting and my writing. We all do it. The beautiful posts by religious people over the triduum - we all do it. Everything we do is corrupted by self-interest and pride - seeking praise from one another.
Someone suggested to me that advertising revenue on one's blog goes up in proportion to the hits they receive. Some blogs are like brothels in that respect.
Holy Saturday is emptiness and pain... it is reality.
Sometimes I have the strange experience of watching a young actor or actress, whose talent I admire and whose career holds promise, and I think, "I'll never live to see how their lives turn out." Unlike the famous people I knew of while growing up, following their careers until they died - I won't know how the 'new one's' lives will turn out. I imagine it is similar to the feeling a parent has with a child - knowing that they will probably die before them. Or a lover who lost his beloved. We won't know because death will do us part and no one will remember us after we are gone... "Our life is over like a sigh. Our span is seventy years or eighty for those who are strong. And most of these are emptiness and pain."
That's Holy Saturday. (Christ already rose from the dead you know.)
Art: L'attraction du vide (The attraction of emptiness) - Gilbert Garcin