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Saturday, April 15, 2017 Easter Vigil
I am confident and unafraid. Christ emerges from the cave to save us from our sins!
1 Samuel, Chapter 13, Verse 6-7
6 When the soldiers saw they were in danger because the army was hardpressed, they hid themselves in caves, thickets, rocks, caverns, and cisterns. 7 Other Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul, however, held out in Gilgal, all his army trembling in fear behind him.
This was a low point for Israel. Probably many of them thought, “What we really need is a king. A king would solve our problems.” Now they have a king and the problems are still there. We often think things will “fix” problems when they won’t at all. “And hereby God intended to teach them the vanity of all fleshly confidence in men; and that they did not one jot less need the help and favor of God now than they did before, when they had no king.” 
Men are foolhardy things when faith and trust in God leaves; fear and pride enters. We see this in the response of the Jew’s to Pilate. When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your king!” They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:13-15)
Passion Week Timeline
We should have during the morning and afternoon, a mournful remembrance of our Lord in the tomb.
Why is this day called Holy Saturday? Because Jesus Christ, the Holy of holies, on this day rested in the grave, and because on this day the new fire and the baptismal water are blessed.
What is the new fire? It is the fire caught from the sparks of a flint, and then blessed by the priest, from which afterwards the candles and lamps in the church are lighted.
Why is this done, and what does it signify? The fire is first caught from a flint to indicate that Christ, the light of the world, though rejected by the Jews, is the real corner-stone, and, though seemingly extinguished in the grave, arose gloriously and sheds the beams of His blessed light on the world.
What is signified by the three candles, or triple candlestick? The Most Holy Trinity, one in the divine nature, but three in person.
Why are all the candles of the church lighted from the triple candle? To signify that all enlightening comes from the Most Holy Trinity.
What does the paschal or Easter candle signify? It represents Jesus Christ, Who died, but rose again, and now lives forever, the light of the world, giving light to all, and delivering us from the darkness of sin. The wax signifies His body, the wick His soul, the light His divinity. The five holes in the Easter candle, in the form of a cross, represent the five holy wounds which Christ retains for our consolation. The five grains of incense inserted therein signify the spices used in embalming the corpse of Our Savior.
What is the signification of the ceremonies used in blessing the baptismal water? They signify the different effects of Baptism.
Why does the priest pour out the baptismal water towards each of the four quarters of the globe? To indicate that as the four streams went forth from paradise to water the earth, so also, according to the command of Christ, shall the stream of grace, through holy Baptism, flow to all parts of the world for the washing away of sin.
What does it mean when the priest breathes three times upon the water? The breathing upon the water denotes the communication of the Holy Ghost.
What does it mean when the priest dips the Easter candle thrice into the baptismal water? The immersion and withdrawal of the candle from the water denote that it is sanctified by Christ to be a means through which the baptized are drawn out of the abyss of sin.
What is the meaning of the mixing of the holy oils with the consecrated water? The holy oils are mixed with the consecrated water partly to indicate the union of Christ with His people, and partly also to denote that the grace of the Holy Ghost, of which the holy oil and chrism are figures, together with faith, hope, and charity, is infused into the heart of the catechumen. ~No Christian should forget to-day to revisit the holy sepulcher, to thank Jesus for His passion and death, and to venerate the sorrowful Mother Mary.
We begin in water; our human form in the amniotic sac, “bag of waters”, in the womb. In the order of nature birth begins when a mothers “water breaks.” So with water we begin our visits to church and we dip a hand into the holy water font and bless ourselves. When the world was lost to sin and needed cleansing and rebirth, God sent a great flood, and from the flood the family of Noah found new life. When Israel emerged from slavery as a unified nation, it first had to pass through the waters of the Red Sea. Though babies had always been born through “water,” now grown men and women could be “born of water and the Holy Spirit.” The Church Fathers taught that Jesus, by descending into the waters of the River Jordan, had sanctified the waters of the world, He made them living and life-giving, He made them a source of supernatural regeneration, refreshment and cleansing. St. Teresa of Avila wrote that “there is nothing the devils flee from more—without returning—than holy water.”
Holy Saturday is sacred as the day of the Lord's rest; it has been called the "Second Sabbath" after creation. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function. Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. After the great battle He is resting in peace, but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering...The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible...Jesus' enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander. Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart. When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed. According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary: she is the "credentium collectio universa" (Congregation for Divine Worship, Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73). Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord's tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of his resurrection. The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church: while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and his soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to his ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy
Although we are still in mourning, there is much preparation during this day to prepare for Easter. Out of the kitchen come the smells of Easter pastries and bread, the lamb or hams and of course, the Easter eggs. There are no liturgies celebrated this day, unless the local parish priest blesses the food baskets. In Slavic countries there is a blessing of the traditional Easter foods, prepared in baskets: eggs, ham, lamb and sausages, butter and cheeses, horseradish and salt and the Easter breads. The Easter blessings of food owe their origin to the fact that these particular foods, namely, flesh meat and milk products, including eggs, were forbidden in the Middle Ages during the Lenten fast and abstinence. When the feast of Easter brought the rigorous fast to an end, and these foods were again allowed at table, the people showed their joy and gratitude by first taking the food to church for a blessing. Moreover, they hoped that the Church's blessing on such edibles would prove a remedy for whatever harmful effects the body might have suffered from the long period of self-denial. Today the Easter blessings of food are still held in many churches in the United States, especially in Slavic parishes. If there is no blessing for the Easter foods in the parish, the father of the family can pray the Blessing over the Easter foods. It is during the night between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday that the Easter Vigil is celebrated. The service begins around ten o'clock, in order that the solemn vigil Mass may start at midnight.
· Today we remember Christ in the tomb. It is not Easter yet, so it's not time for celebration. The day is usually spent working on the final preparations for the biggest feast of the Church year. The list of suggested activities is long, but highlights are decorating Easter eggs and attending a special Easter food blessing.
· For families with smaller children, you could create a miniature Easter garden, with a tomb. The figure of the risen Christ will be placed in the garden on Easter morning.
· Another activity for families is creation of a paschal candle to use at home.
· The Directory on Popular Piety discusses some of the various devotions related to Easter, including the Blessing of the Family Table, Annual Blessing of Family Home, the Via Lucis and the Visit to the Mother of the Risen Christ.
Today bring to me the souls of priests and religious
 Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 1. Holy Water.
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