Holy Saturday 2022: A Great Silence on Earth

Source: youtube.com

Holy Saturday, also called Easter Vigil, Christian religious observance that ends the Lenten season, falling on the day before Easter Sunday. The observance commemorates the final day of Christ’s death, which is traditionally associated with his triumphant descent into hell.

The early church celebrated the end of Lent with large baptismal ceremonies, but for many centuries no services were held on Holy Saturday in the Western churches, recalling the suspended state of Christ’s followers in the period between his Crucifixion and Resurrection. Beginning in 1955, the Roman Catholic and some other churches restored the evening Easter Vigil.

(Source : The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica


Today, igNation offers you the following three posts for your Holy Saturday prayer.


 (2) A Holy Saturday Stations of the Cross

The Church was packed on Good Friday, so the elderly lady decided that she would make the Stations of the Cross – on Holy Saturday. The Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church would be empty, except for those decorating the church for the Easter Vigil.

Taking her time, she slowly wound her way around the Stations along the aisles of the church. She then made her way to catch the bus #75. It was one that lowered its steps.

She very cautiously boarded the bus. The Driver was a kind and considerate man. Take your time, Grandmother. I am in no hurry. While still in considerable pain she fumbled in her large bag for money to pay her fare,. Do not worry, Grandmother. Just take your seat.

You see, she said, I just came from the Church making the Stations.

Pointing to her hands, I do not have nails here, but he had nails and I have peace in my heart

Pointing to her head, I do not have a crown of thorns there, but he had thorns and I have peace in my heart

Pointing to her side. I do not have a spear here, hut he had a spear and I have peace in my heart

The bus driver turned his head as his eyes were filled with tears. He waited till the elderly woman took her seat and then drove away very thoughtfully. Our world would be an awfully bleak place to live in without love. The elderly woman had experienced love – and unconsciously spread that experience. 

By Michael Coutts, SJ
 (3)  Have we reached there yet?
Holy Saturday is an enigma. It should not be so. It does not matter how often we have celebrated the liturgy of the Holy Triduum, we feel emotionally exhausted. First there is the rich Good Friday liturgy at 3:00 and we top this up by making the Stations of the Cross later in the evening. Now we wait for the Easter Vigil with the same impatience of a child in a car, “Have we reached there yet?”

Holy Thursday – and the mystery of our salvation continues as we say in the Creed: He descended into hell. There he encountered the just souls. There is a definite finality about Good Friday that we must face. It is a mystery we will enter each year. Sometimes we will face it like the Jews, for whom the Cross was a scandal. Sometimes we will face it like the Gentiles, for whom the Cross was an stumbling block.

We can do well on Holy Saturday to dwell on this awesome mystery rather than to try and keep busy in the same way as when we are in the doctor’s waiting room or in a queue at the bank on a busy day. There is the brutal and hard fact: God is dead. Jesus Christ has died on the cross. We cannot feel this loss in the same way as the Apostles did 2000 years ago. For them, it was a horrible wrench, as if a part of their very soul was taken away.

You and I know there is a Resurrection. For the Apostles there was only a hope, – a hope that was like a candle in the wind. The Disciples of Emmaus articulated their feelings in that pathetic phrase, “We had hoped.” There was no turning back the clock. They could not wave a wand and bring back their friend, Jesus.

Today many things remind us of the total injustice: “I see no fault in him, so I will scourge him. Many things remind us of total impotence: “It is better for one man to die.” Many things remind us of the need to balance the field: “My father would send a legion of angels.” We see this injustice, this impotence, the one-sidedness in Ukraine, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, among the Uighurs in China, in Myanmar, in Syria and so many African countries. Here the utter devastation felt on Holy Saturday is not felt for a day – but for decades.

It is important that we wait with the Apostles. The utter devastation of the loss on Good Friday will take some time to heal. The silence must be a fruitful and productive silence.  You and I know the Alleluia of Easter, but there are thousands of fellow men, women and children who live in the continual darkness of Holy Saturday. They ask: When will we reach there?

By Michael Coutts, SJ

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Charles Vijayakumar
    Posted at 03:52h, 16 April Reply

    Amen( I believe)

  • Dodzi Amemado
    Posted at 06:20h, 16 April Reply

    Thank you, Fr. Shano and Coutts, for these enriching pieces of meditation.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 10:47h, 16 April Reply

    Thank you Philip and Michael!

  • Elia Cuomo
    Posted at 22:30h, 16 April Reply

    Thank you so much, Father Philip and Father Michael for these moving reflections. Blessed and joyous Easter to both of you.

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