Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday: The Whole Earth Keeps Silent

O Mother of Sorrows, thou, who beneath the Cross of Jesus were given to
us as our Mother, look down with pity on us, thy children, who weep and
mourn in this valley of tears. By that sword of sorrow which pierced thy
Heart when thou looked upon the Face of thy dead Son, obtain for us
that comfort we so sorely need in our sufferings.

Thou were given to us our Mother in the hour of thy greatest grief that
thou might be mindful of our frailty and the evils that press upon us.
Without thy aid, O Sorrowful Mother, we cannot gain the victory in this
struggle against flesh and blood. Therefore, we seek thy help,
O Queen of Sorrows, lest we fall prey to the wiles of the enemy.
We are orphans in need of the guiding hand of our Mother amid the
dangers that threaten our destruction. Thou whose grief was boundless
as the sea, grant us by the memory of those sorrows the strength to be

Intercede further, O Mother of Sorrows, for us and all who are near and
dear to us, that we may ever do the Will of thy Son, and may direct all
our actions to His honor, and to the furtherance of devotion to thy sorrows.

Virgin Most Sorrowful, pray for us.

Today in fact, there is no “Gospel” to meditate upon or perhaps we should rather meditate upon the whole Gospel with capital letters (the Good News), because it all ends in what we are today recalling: Jesus surrendering to Death so that He can rise again and give us a New Life.

Today, the Church remains by our Lord's tomb, while meditating upon his Passion and Death. We shall not celebrate the Eucharist until the day will be over, until tomorrow, when it will start with the Solemn Vigil of the Resurrection. Today, is a day of silence, of affliction, of sadness, of thinking and waiting. Today, we do not find the Holy Eucharist to be reserved in the Sacrarium. There is only the remembrance and the sign of his “love to the end”, the Holy Cross we devotedly adore.

Today, is the day to be by Mary, his mother. We have to stay by her to be able to understand a little the significance of this tomb we are watching over. She, who with loving tenderness was keeping in his motherly heart those mysteries she did not quite understood from that Son of hers, who was the Savior of us all, is now sad and hurt: «He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him» (Jn 1:11). It is also the sadness of the other mother, the Holy Church, that suffers the rejection of so many men and women that have not sheltered Him, who was Light and Life for them.

Today, while praying together with these two mothers, Christ followers ponder and repeat the antiphon of the prayer of Laudes: «He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name» (cf. Phil 2:8-9).

Today, the faithful Christian listens to the Ancient Homily about the Holy Saturday the Church reads in the liturgy of the Office of Readings: «There is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and He has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear».

Let us prepare to commemorate the solitude of Mary to live the brightness of Resurrection and to celebrate and proclaim —when this sad day is over— with the other mother, the Holy Church: Jesus Christ has risen, just as he said! (cf. Mt 28:6).

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