Friday, 3 April 2015



As I grow older –I’ll be 83 on Easter Sunday –Holy Saturday means more and more to me. True, liturgically, nothing happens. And that’s what I value.
On the previous day –Good Friday –we reached the climax of Salvation History, with the traumatic drama of the brutal crucifixion of the Son of God. But then, with His death His sufferings ended. He had achieved His purpose. He was laid to rest in the grave. There was the silence, the stillness of the grave, before Jesus rose to new life. Those who loved Him and had followed Him were left with their grief.
The silence, the stillness of the grave -that is what I value. For me this seemingly empty period is very important. It responds to my need to have a special time to reflect on my deceased loved ones –time to relate their deaths to that of Christ crucified.

With the passage of time, during my long life, more and more of my family and friends have died. Today allows me to stop and reflect on what they meant to me, what they still mean to me. Holy Saturday is a special time for grieving –a necessary expression of love.

I’m reminded that just as death didn’t put an end to Jesus, so, too, it doesn’t write the concluding chapter in the life-story of my loved ones. For Jesus and for them the best was yet to come.
So, Holy Saturday is not just a time for nostalgically looking back at those whom we have lost. Amidst the silent stillness of this day there’s the bustle of preparation for the celebration of the crucified Christ’s victory over death as He rose from the grave.
That preparation transforms the sadness of my grief and fills it with hope beyond the grave. As death is drained of its emptiness it is filled with hope in our sharing in the glory of Christ’s resurrection. As I grieve for my loved ones my relationship with them is transformed and enriched. I no longer focus on their earthly well-being, but now pray for their eternal salvation. My hope in life after death gives me the opportunity to tie up the loose ends of regret for all the times I’ve failed my loved ones. It’s no longer too late to put things right. Now I can give them practical assistance with my prayers. That’s good for them and for me.
I need the stillness of Holy Saturday to give me time to reflect on the greatest of all mysteries –life and death. Far from being morbid, my thoughts are filled with the confident hope which the crucified and risen Lord has given me. If I’m to meet Him in the celebration of the drama of his death and resurrection I need the quietness of Holy Saturday to give me space to think and pray about life and death –His, my loved ones, my own.

For me Holy Saturday is far from empty; still less is it a waste, a marking, of time. On this still, quiet holy day, in the midst of death I find hope of eternal life in the risen Lord.

Isidore Clarke, O.P.

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