Holy Saturday: Praying with the Apostles

Holy Saturday is a day of waiting and anxiety.  I imagine the apostles holed up in a small room in Jerusalem, waiting for the Roman soldiers to come arrest them.  The authorities have already crucified Jesus, and the apostles expect that they are next.  Waiting for their deaths, many of them doubt the promise that Jesus made to them:  that he would rise on the third day.  They do not trust in God’s promise, and wish that God would save them immediately rather than act on his own timeline.

Like the apostles, who awaited Jesus’ resurrection, we are eager for “resurrections” in our own lives.  Some of us can’t wait for the school year to end.  Others of us long for a significant relationship to improve.  We all look to the future in anticipation, often overlooking the goodness that already exists in our lives. Our elaborate goals and rosy visions for the future easily prevent us from recognizing the important but ordinary moments that happen in the university cafeteria, on the subway, or in the bathroom while brushing teeth with roommates.

We and the apostles must learn to accept God’s timeline.  Waiting for our own “third days” is often difficult, but that struggle allows us grow in what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin calls “patient trust.”

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are all, quite naturally,
impatient in everything to reach the end
without delay.
We should like to skip
the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being
on the way to something unknown,
something new,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually –
let them grow,
let them shape themselves,
without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today
what time (that is to say, grace and
circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you
and accept the anxiety of
feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit scientist and mystic

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.


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