Saturday, 19 April 2014

Every Day is Holy Saturday

In “Protestantism And A Human Understanding Of Time,” Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry explains why Catholics view the Mass as a sacrifice:

Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is eternal. Because God experiences every moment of time simultaneously (or “simultaneously”), for God, there isn’t a moment “before” the Cross and a moment “after” the Cross. The sacrificial character of the Mass, then, is about us sharing in this divine sacrifice, which is made possible because (through the communion of the saints) Christ’s sacrifice exists for all eternity.

I have little to say about his discussion of Protestantism, because 1) I didn’t find it especially revealing or interesting (his post, really, is about Catholicism rather than Protestantism) and 2) I’m not sure there’s much point in talking about Protestantism at any length because, like “Africa” or “contemporary world literature,” “Protestantism” isn’t at a level of specificity which enables useful analysis.

What I do want to point out is Gobry’s implied claim that every day is Good Friday. Sure, he doesn’t say so in those words, but that’s the point of the paragraph. As Clara is scattered throughout the Doctor’s timeline in order to save him, so the crucifixion happens in every moment of history. Because every day is Good Friday, every Mass is a sacrifice. Every single day, Christ hangs on the cross.

But if every day is Good Friday, I suspect that every day must be Holy Saturday, too. Holy Saturday is that day, during the liturgical calendar, when God is dead and buried in the tomb. Holy Saturday is the day when there’s a God-shaped hole not in the human heart, but in the world. Every day Jesus dies on the cross, and every day Jesus rises from the dead, but every day, too, Jesus is dead and forsaken.

This is the world I feel like I live in: a world of perpetual Holy Saturday. I wonder if different people, at different times in their lives, live in worlds of a single perpetual liturgical day. Some live Good Friday every day; others live Pentacost every day; others live Christmas Eve every day. For me it is Holy Saturday. There is a hole that runs through the centre of the world and justice, compassion, and truth lay entombed. I recognize of course that I can’t say that every day is Holy Saturday without also admitting that every day is Easter Sunday, but I have such trouble seeing the Easter Sunday in each day. Maybe this is why the happiest liturgical season I can manage is Advent: I have trouble believing in a world in which Christ is risen (been born), but I can believe in a world in which he will rise. And that isn’t so bad.

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