Holy Saturday: a visit to the dead

A Handmaid Lent, News

This year, Holy Saturday will be like none other in recent history. Millions of Catholics will not attend the Easter Vigil. No fire. No lighting of the Paschal candle. No sung exultet. No sequence of readings walking us through salvation history until the coming of the Messiah and final conquering of suffering and death in the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ.

Some will, in the absence of familiar ceremony, feel stranded and lost. Follow the services digitally with prayer and devotion but also consider extensive prayer time in solitude to reflect deeply on this mystery. The advantage of the lack of communal gatherings physically is that there will be less distraction of the usual yearly preparations. You can sink into the mystery with little more than placing oneself in the presence of God and contemplating what those dreadfully silent hours were like when Our Lord lay in the tomb.

We suggest a slow, meditative reading of the ancient Holy Saturday homily that the Church prescribes for Matins on that day. Even in translation into English it is a magnificent spiritual reflection as the author takes one in spirit to those first moments of the Resurrection when the dead, from Adam onward, see, with their own eyes, the victorious God-Man, and he speaks to them of what he has done for them. 

You can find a copy of this homily here: http://www.vatican.va/spirit/documents/spirit_20010414_omelia-sabato-santo_en.html

Despite the uncertainties and anxieties of our age, allow yourself, even amid pandemics, to relish and rejoice in that definitive and final victory of life over death!