Today There is Only Darkness – Thoughts from Thomas Merton and Oscar Romero

by Christine Sine
Tenebrae service St Andrew's Episcopal Seattle

Tenebrae service St Andrew’s Episcopal Seattle

Last night we attended the Good Friday Tenebrae service at our church. It was a very moving service of readings. We started with the sanctuary alive with light and ended with it in darkness except for the Christ candle which stood at the foot of the cross. It was powerful. Here are the readings that most impacted me.

It is in the darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure. (Thomas Merton)

To each one of us Chris is saying: If you want your life and mission to be fruitful, like mine, do as I do. Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried. Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid. Those who shun suffering will remain alone. No one is more alone than the selfish. But if you give your life out of love for others, as I give mine for all, you will reap a great harvest. (Oscar Romero)

And out of my reflections came this poem:

Today we mourn.

For promises unfulfilled

for wholeness unrealized

for brokenness still afflicting.

Today there is only darkness.

Our hopes are buried

our longings shrouded

our desires entombed.

Today the grave engulfs us.

We walk in hell

empty, stripped of life

no light only darkness.

Today God seems to have failed.

Yet here we find freedom

Between death and resurrection

This is the night which empties us

and makes us whole.



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Katie Baier April 19, 2014 - 9:04 am

Thank you Christine! I was very much in tune with what you wrote. As I attended Good Friday at St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church I found tears slipping out from my closed eyes. A mixture of tears of what Jesus went through that day and tears of gratitude for the love he had not just for everyone but feeling the amazing gift that it was for my sins that he died. I long and pray for all those who don’t understand the personal side to Good Friday, His great love for every individual from the beginning of time to the end of time.

I thank God for you and your daily messages. I know that we will probably never meet face to face here on earth but one day we will and look forward to that day in heaven.

Katie Baier

Christine Sine April 19, 2014 - 9:53 am

Thank you Katie. I think one of the joys of God’s eternal world will be meeting those who have influenced us and whom we have influenced. What a celebration that will be.

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