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Friday, March 25, 2016

On This Day of Bright Sorrow

I borrowed the Western calendar today, for a moment, and pondered.  As an Orthodox Christian, my Pacha, my Easter, will be May 1 this year.  Still, one cannot help but notice that for our Western brothers and sisters, today is Good Friday....a Good Friday that shares a calendar-square with the date in both traditons, of the Annunciation.   Bright sorrow, and melancholy joy, colliding.                                            
Skokloster Castle / Jens Mohr

Forty-one years ago, a baby was born in my home.  A little brother, unexpected, a gift.  I was no longer an only child; I had someone to walk through the decades with.  Nineteen years later, unexpectedly, he went home.  This time, it didn't feel like a gift.  I don't understand it.  The pain really cannot be described, and so, I will not try.  I can only trust that in God's wisdom, it was the better choice.  I can only trust that it was to save him, and us, greater pain.  

I don't talk about him much around those whom I do not trust with such raw, deep sorrow.  I mostly keep him hidden in my heart.  People often show interest in such stories for titillation.  They want to know something that sits deep within you, something that can drop you to the ground.  They want to be spectators to the sensational.  And so, I keep him in my hearts' embrace.

It must have been something like that for Mary? Imagine the depth of her pain, and the sensational response of the masses to her son's death. How she must have grieved; how she must have wanted to cover him with her own body, to shield him from the titillated and jeering crowds.  I am no Mary, but I can imagine a small piece of her experience,... perhaps.

The Virgin Mary Swooning over the Dead Body of Christ at the Foot of the Cross, by Pierre-Etienne Monnot, 1710
Still, she carried this devastating sorrow for the joy it ushered in.  Our salvation, and hers....a wonder. Trusting God, that in His wisdom, it was the better choice...the only way to save us greater pain.  And so, we trust.

Blessed Annunciation, dear ones, and a holy and blessed Good Friday to our precious friends who pray and wait at the foot of the cross, in the Western tradition,


  1. I am aware some Orthodox have accepted the Gregorian calendar...

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! :) Yes, this is true, but not for Pascha (Easter). All Orthodox Christians worldwide celebrate Pascha according to the old calendar, so that we all may celebrate together on the same day. By association, Lent is observed according to the old calendar as well.


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