Growing up, el sábado santo (Holy Saturday) was a day of silence starting on Holy Friday and lasting until Easter. We lived in my Abuela’s home, and her house was never quiet except for those two somber days. Abuela had been an accomplished singer and now taught others to sing. In the suffering Havana of my childhood, food was scarce, water rationed, and there was no electricity most nights; it could have been a hopeless existence. But my grandmother taught me to play the piano and sing even in the dark, I just needed my fingers, my memory of their place on the keyboard, and to lift my voice. Music was an act of faith. But on Holy Saturday we abstained from beauty to join the grieving Creation. We would wait for the dawn and the music would return.
When I was ripped from my home by political cataclysms I couldn’t possibly understand, the music went silent. Immigrants undergo an excruciating process, thrown into a dark and silent place, much like the tomb, where they are stripped of their identity, their loved ones, their language, their voice. But we believe the Resurrection comes. Kind neighbors gave us an old piano, I struggled to learn the new language, schoolmates helped and explained, and when I was older, a Jesuit university offered me a home again. I sang in the choir and I am singing in that choir still.
As you enter into Holy Saturday, try to feel the deep and dark silence of the exile, the refugee, the displaced millions around the world. Be with them and then commit to giving them a home, a place where there is music, even in the dark.
Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu holds both a bachelor’s degree in Film/Televison and Spanish and a master’s degree in theology from Loyola Marymount University. She earned her doctorate degree in Art & Religion and Systemic Theology at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. Her work has since bridged theology and the arts, and she has written and presented on topics including the relationship between justice, beauty, and art, art as a bridge to community, Latino/a theology, immigration, and educational justice and was named one of the most promising theologians of the next generation by America Magazine. She is currently an Associate Professor of Theological Studies in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at her alma mater, Loyola Marymount University and is a contributing writer for America Magazine.
La doctora Cecilia González-Andrieu es profesora de teología en Loyola Marymount University, donde también se dedica a servir a la comunidad Latina de muchas formas, especialmente los asuntos de estudiantes indocumentados e inmigrantes y la defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores. Es también reconocida ensayista para la revista católica en inglés mas importante de los Estados Uniods, America (un ministerio de los Jesuitas) y miembro de la mesa directiva del Ignatian Solidarity Network (la red de solidaridad iganiaciana), dedicada a trabajar con la comunidad y entrenar a los jóvenes para vivir “una fe que hace justicia.” Es la autora del libro Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, co editora de Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, y a contribuido a muchas otras publicaciones, entre ellas el libro Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis.