Christ in Limbo



Christ in Limbo. Fresco by Fra Angelico

On Holy Saturday, the world between the Crucifixion and death of Christ and the Resurrection is quiet. It’s an in between, a liminal space, that is hard for us to make sense of. Surely it was also difficult for the friends of Jesus. After the traumatic and difficult events of the Passion, so swiftly after the loving acts of foot washing and sharing in a meal, the silence must have been its own challenge. The disciples must have wondered what to do with themselves. Peter who ran away, like others, must have been struggling with his failure to follow Christ even to death. The women and disciple who remained faithful at the Cross no longer even have the activity of providing comfort to him and one another to occupy them. The space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday can be a lonely space.

Meanwhile, though, tradition tells us that Christ was rescuing the souls in limbo. Not only does this idea affirm that Jesus comes for all times, not only his own or afterwards, but it also has a spiritual significance. In the silence of seeming inactivity, God is often at work beneath the surface. We may see nothing of God’s action overtly, but meanwhile Christ may be at work transforming whole worlds. Thus, I think our basic stance in the waiting space of Holy Saturday is trust: trust that God is at work and that the resurrection is on its way.

Perhaps you also have some spaces in your life that are “in between.” Can you trust that God is at work, preparing for the Resurrection? And what do you yourself need to do to be ready?

2 thoughts on “Christ in Limbo

  1. Thanks for sharing this text. It is so meaningfull. It refers to the time between our (human) priest and the confirmation that God understood us and is at work. Amen.

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    1. Thanks! The text is my reflection on the painting by Fra Angelico, which I find beautiful. Many blessings this Easter to you !!

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