The Triduum liturgies commenced a little early for me this week; I attended a Tenebrae service at the Dominican House of Studies in D.C. on Wednesday night. What a profound experience. If you’ve never been, I strongly encourage it for next year. I have heard those Psalms and the readings from Jeremiah’s Lamentations countless times before, but never did they speak to me as they did this week. Stepping into these holiest of days, it was so good to be reminded of our desperate need for a savior. The image of Israel as a fallen, cast-off woman whose foes surround her on all sides really resonated with me this time. Does it get much more helpless than that? And what does a helpless, threatened, terrified woman do but scream for help?
Mankind screamed. God swooped in and answered. One of the priests at the church where I attend daily mass in the city spoke on a similar matter last week. He suggested that we mentally substitute the word “rescue” for “saved,” arguing that this is a closer translation to the original Hebrew. (Not being a biblical scholar myself, I can’t comment any further on that.) That little switch makes for an interesting meditation. The word “save” tends to have sweet, slow, sentimental connotations, at least for me. But to be “rescued” implies something momentous, swift, and lasting. We have been snatched back from the abyss; our menacing foes have literally been beaten back.
And now it is Good Friday. The weather has turned appropriately cold and gray. I can’t begin to describe the enormity of today, and I don’t intend to try. I did want to tie it back to singlehood, though, this blog’s theme. Israel moaned in captivity for so long, for thousands upon thousands of years, sometimes physically captive to conquering kingdoms, but always fundamentally captive to sin. We read the Psalms, where the psalmist cries, “Deliver me from the hands of my enemies” … “Rescue me, Lord, mighty God” … and for some reason, God chose to delay his answer. David died and generations passed before the fullness of time came, when God sent his only Son. How often do we singles pour out our hearts, begging God to give us a sense of purpose now? We want direction, clarity, stability, love. And instead we’re met with this long, long silence. May you find peace in this Good Friday, the day on which we receive beyond any doubt the reassurance that God does indeed answer our prayers, far beyond anything we could ever dream up for ourselves.
Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on us.