Holy Saturday is an odd, quiet day. Stuck between the agony of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday, it is a day of middles and “alreadys but not yets”. In many ways, Holy Saturday is a symbol for the Christian life. As Christians, we live Holy Saturday. 1. Experientially, we live Holy Saturday. …
Alleluia! Christ is truly risen! We can make absolutely no qualification of this fact whatever. Christ has really, truly, and substantially risen, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, from the dead. The whole Christ has risen indeed for the completion of the work of our redemption.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Leonard Limosin c. 1553
Love’s redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won.
Lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er!
Lo, He sets in blood no more!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal!
Christ has burst the gates of hell;
Death in vain forbids Him rise;
Christ has opened paradise.
Lives again our victorious King;
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, He all doth save;
Where thy victory, O grave?
Soar we now where Christ has led,
following our exalted Head;
made like Him, like Him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to thee by both be given:
Thee we greet triumphant now;
Hail, the Resurrection thou!
—Charles Wesley, 1739
Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Resurrection. 1562.
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!
[My dearest friends, standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.]
[V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.]
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right to give Him thanks and praise.
It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin
to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin
and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ
broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave
you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God
to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”
The power of this holy night
dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
“Christ on the Cross with Mary and St. John”, Rogier van der Weyden.
For Good Friday.
O my sweet Saviour Christ, which, of Thine undeserved love toward mankind, so kindly wouldest suffer the painful death of the cross, suffer not me to be cold nor lukewarm in love again toward Thee.
—St Thomas More, Treatise on the Passion
The Crucifixion — Titian (1558)
Church of San Domenico
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
- John 19:26-27
Deposition from the Cross (detail) — Fra Angelico
If we could and would with due compassion conceive in our minds a right imagination and remembrance of Christ’s bitter painful passion, of the many sore bloody strokes that the cruel tormentors with rods and whips gave him upon every part of his holy tender body, the scornful crown of sharp thorns beaten down upon his holy head, so straight and so deep that on every part his blessed blood issued out and streamed down, his lovely limbs drawn and stretched out upon the cross to the intolerable pain of his forebeaten and sore beaten veins and sinews, new feeling, with the cruel stretching and straining, pain far passing any cramp in every part of his blessed body at once, then the great long nails cruelly driven with hammers through his holy hands and feet, and in this horrible pain lift up and let hang, with the peise (weight) of all his body bearing down upon the painful wounded places, so grievously pierced with nails, and in such torment (without pity, but not without many despites), suffered to be pined and pained the space of more than three long hours, till himself willingly gave up unto his Father his holy soul, after which yet to shew the mightiness of their malice after his holy soul departed they pierced his holy heart with a sharp spear, at which issued out the holy blood and water whereof his holy sacraments have inestimable secret strength: if we would, I say, remember these things in such wise, as would God we would, I verily suppose that the consideration of his incomparable kindness could not in such wise fail to inflame our key-cold hearts, and set them on fire in his love, that we should find ourselves not only content, but also glad and desirous, to suffer death for his sake that so marvellous lovingly letted not to sustain so far passing painful death for ours.
—St Thomas More, The Dialogue of Comfort
He died for me… I’ll live for Him!
Stations of the Cross
|—||Dr. Scott Hahn (via catholicknight)|
On this day, It was finished. John 19:30
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
— John 10:10.
An old and beautiful legend says that, at the time of the Crucifixion, the dogwood was comparable in size to the oak tree and other large trees of the forest. Because of its firmness and strength, it was selected as the timber for the cross.
However, to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Jesus, in his gentle pity for the sorrow and suffering of all, said to it:
'Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it will be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross. Each blossom will have two long and two short petals and at the center of the outer edge of each petal will be nail-prints brown with rust and stained with red. At the centre of the flowers will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember.'
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
— John 3:16.