I have never been to the Vatican, nor have I stayed at a well-known motel chain, but I know my way around the Stations of the Cross and the Lives of the Saints. I'm always amazed at the number of people who think Christmas is the origin of Christianity-others consider the beginnings to be Easter Sunday.
If the former is The Promise and the latter The Promise Fulfilled-today, Holy Saturday, is the act of faith and hope that defines you as a Christian (choice of second person pronoun deliberate). The belief in the Resurrection which the New Testament portrays as the reward for the faithful is never so near and yet so far as it is today.
The earliest disciples had nothing to go on, unlike we of the Brave New World Order. They had witnessed a crucifixion-one of the most egregiously horrific forms of a death sentence at its time. Cowering in an upstairs room huddled together while fearing any sound and every footfall were signals someone was coming for them, they had no way to see the glory of Easter Sunday. All they could do was believe.
For them to believe as devoutly as they did between the worst day in the history of the world and its greatest day, for me, loyal son of Holy Mother Church, but a FARC for more years than I care to recall, remains an overwhelming example of faith, hope and love as represented by the day which created the Christian religion, today.
From childhood on, I struggled against the suffocation that surrender to the traditions and the rites seemed to signify. I took no solace in unquestioning and unswerving belief-preferring what I understood the path of Thomas to be and, finding no one who could answer my questions, absenting myself from the body of believers. How odd that this declaration of freedom has never created a sense of being free.
Not that I don't envy those of faith and think about the comfort that comes from that, especially as I did last night revisiting the accounts from some years back of the death of Captain Nicholas Rozanski. He came all the way from Dublin, Ohio, to be lost in the fog of war, along with SFC Jeffrey Rieck and SFC Shawn Hannon, on the streets of Maimanah, an otherwise unremarkable spot on a map of a nation we have carried with us as a coward does an abscess for over a decade, unable or unwilling (I can never tell which) to do that which we know we must and to conclude that which we can no longer control.
Captain Rozanski's death and all the others should be another reminder to those of us who are alive to redouble our efforts to be the best people we can be in The Now because The Next, as the New Testament illustrates, can be so lonely and uncertain without a reason to believe. Either you have a reason, or you become one for someone else. When you do, every day is Easter.