This has been the strangest, hardest and most meaningful Lent I will have ever gotten through. Tomorrow is Lazarus Saturday. I admit, although I know the story, most of the time I just think about how much I wish we were permitted pizza rather than caviar to celebrate the feast. A few days ago I was looking at pictures of Innocent and suddenly the words “four days in the tomb” floated through my head. I stopped. That’s Lazarus, I thought, and realized this Saturday is Lazarus Saturday. (Time hasn’t had much meaning lately so I keep forgetting what day it is.) Then it hit me: counting Wednesday as day one, by this Saturday Innocent will have been four days in the tomb. I have never so closely identified with Martha and Mary until that moment. Like Mary I want to cry, “Lord, if you had been here Innocent had not died.”
There are so many “coincidences” surrounding Innocent’s life and death. We found out he had died on the first feast of St. Innocent. He was due on the second feast of St. Innocent. We buried him on the old-calendar feast of St. Innocent. Like Lazarus, he will have been in the tomb four days tomorrow. I can’t help thinking, where is the Lord? When is my Pascha coming? Will it always be Holy Friday?
Pascha, the Pascha, came almost 2,000 years ago. Lazarus died before Pascha and so was in Hades during those four days. I believe Innocent, on the other hand, was translated from my bodily embrace to that of our Father’s without pause. It is always Pascha in Heaven.
Innocent’s soul is alive. His body will be restored to him in a perfected state on the day of the General Resurrection. “Lazarus, come forth from the tomb,” will be heard again. But then the Vanquisher of death will also cry “Innocent, come forth from the tomb.”