Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Silence of Holy Saturday

"This day is meant to be one of recollection in silence and prayer besides the sepulchre of the Lord" says Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene OCD in his book Divine Intimacy 

This day of silence and prayer, can often be awkward. But why awkward you ask? We know that Jesus died for us and we are sorry that our sins caused his death, but we are also excitedly anticipating his resurrection which we will celebrate tonight. So we don't know whether to be sad, mournful, happy or excited. It is part of the mystery and paradox of Holy Saturday. 

While we pray at the sepulchre of Jesus, reflecting on his lifeless, bruised and tortured body. We also take refuge in his wounds, knowing that there is healing and safety there. 

Holy Saturday is the Jewish sabbath day, so even in his death he was fulfilling the Law. However we also know that Jesus says that He and the Father are always at work, and that he is the Lord of the Sabbath. In the deathly silence of Holy Saturday, Jesus has descended to Hell (the place of the dead according to the Creed) where he has gone to rescue Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and all the Prophets, holy men and woman who have been waiting for redemption in the realm of the dead. So to outward appearances the dead inactivity of God is ironically a continuation of redemption and salvation. 

How often in our lives do we think that God is quiet, ignoring us, or not present when in reality His power is working in the silence and darkness of our lives? 


To finish with one last quote from Divine Intimacy :
"May this Saturday, a day of transition between the agony of Friday and the glory of the Resurrection, be a day of prayer and recollection near the lifeless body of Jesus; let us open wide our heart and purify it in His Blood, so that renewed in love and purity, it can vie with the "new sepulchre" in offering the beloved Master a place of peace and rest" 

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