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Crux est mundi medicina: the cross is the medicine of the world.
The lion roars in an empty tree.
St Bonaventure and the Buddhist koan combine on Holy Saturday.
Today is a vast plain of silence: a roar of silence whose echo leads us to the empty tree of the Cross after the body of Jesus has been taken down and laid in the tomb. If like Mary Magdalene we look for the body, the physical proof of the person we once knew, we will be disappointed. We will weep the tears of emptiness. We will be stuck in the past, with a Jesus we can know no longer. But if we wait, our tears are turned to laughter, the song of emptiness reveals presence in absence, fullness in emptiness.
The further we go into the silence of emptiness we will hear where the roar begins.
Space is not a void. It is a ‘plenum’, a fullness. In spacious prayer, in which we are not filling it with desires, we get a preview of the pleroma, the plenitude of Christ. The deeper we follow, the more we see that all attempts we make to change reality serves firstly to change us and our entire view of reality.
We will see that there is only undivided wholeness in continuous flow and growth and we are inseparable from it. The illusion that we are apart from it, even as objective observers, dies on the cross.
The healing power of the Cross cannot be expressed in terms of a spiritual balance sheet. Where total freedom and grace is at work there is no debt to pay, no spreadsheet to balance. But the Cross, on which the universal neighbour, brother, teacher died, still holds us accountable when we betray our neighbour.
The UK government announced on Good Friday that refugees who in desperation risk taking small boats across the English Channel to beg for refuge will soon be shipped off to Rwanda, in the middle of Africa 6000 miles away. “When I was a stranger you invited me in..”
The silence of Holy Saturday, however, is not concerned with judgments or answers. But the mysticism of the Cross exposes our own intricate complicities in the crucifixion of the innocent.
The only power we can trust absolutely is the power of the one who humbled himself absolutely. Remember the death of Christ to enter this humility because the message of the Cross is the power of pure love arising from total selflessness. Love alone has the power to redeem and absolute love redeems absolutely.


Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2022
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