Today is my favorite day of the Sacred Triduum—Holy Saturday.
Why you may ask?
Because it is a day that is full of possibilities that we know are going to be made real.
Very simply, we know darkness, sin and death are conquered.
We know that Jesus will rise from the dead on Easter morning.
We know the ending of the story.
But often, I think knowing how the story ends makes us impatient.
We want all the possibilities now. It’s like Christmas Eve and we want to open our gifts before we go to Christmas Eve service.
But it’s not time yet. It’s not time to open the gifts that God has prepared for us throughout this Lenten season.
It’s not time for rejoicing—yet.
But the time is drawing ever closer.
Tomorrow will come the rejoicing and celebrating and all the possibilities made anew.
But today, we wait in silence and in hope.
To help you reflect and wait with our Lord beside His tomb, enjoy this meditation that was published in the Magnificat by Carmelite Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen:
The Peace of the Tomb
“In peace I will sleep, and I will rest (Ps 4:9). These opening words of Matins of Holy Saturday refer to the peace of the tomb, where the sacred body of Jesus rests. Indeed, this day is meant to be one of recollection in silence and prayer beside the sepulcher of the Lord. After the death of Jesus, frightened by the earthquake and the darkness, all had left Calvary except the little group of faithful ones: Our Lady and Saint John, who were never away from the cross, and Mary Magdalen and the other pious women…. Although our Lord had died, they could not tear themselves away from him, their adored Master, the object of all their love and hope. It was their love that kept them near the lifeless body. This is a sign of real fidelity, to persevere even in the darkest and most painful moments, when all seems lost, and when a friend, instead of triumphing, is reduced to defeat and profound humiliation. It is easy to be faithful to God when everything goes smoothly, when his cause triumphs; but to be equally faithful in the hour of darkness, when, for a time, he permits evil to get the upper hand, when everything that is good and holy seems to be swept away and irrevocably lost—this is hard, but it is the most authentic proof of real love.
Two disciples, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, took charge of the burial. The sacred body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a sheet with spices, and laid in a new tomb which Joseph had hewn in a rock (Mt 27:60). Together with Mary, who must certainly have been present at the scene and received the lacerated body of her divine Son into her arms, let us also draw near to the sacred remains; let us gaze on these wounds, on these bruises, on this Blood, all of which speak so eloquently of Jesus’ love for us. It is true that these wounds are no longer painful, but glorious; and tomorrow, at the Easter dawn, we shall celebrate the great victory which they have won. However, though glorified they remain and will remain forever the indelible marks of the exceedingly great charity with which Christ loved us.
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 sepulcher in offering the beloved Master a place of peace and rest.”
Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen († 1952) was a Belgian Carmelite priest, teacher, and spiritual director. / From Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year, pp. 399-400. Translated by the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Boston from the original Italian edition Intimità Divina del P. Gabrielle di S. Maria Maddalena. © Monastero S. Giuseppe – Carmelitane Scalze. Published by Baronius Press, www.baroniuspress.com. Used with permission.