Saturday, April 3, 2021

 


Holy Saturday

FIRST SATURDAY


 

Isaiah, Chapter 54, verse 4

Do not FEAR, you shall not be put to shame; do not be discouraged, you shall not be disgraced. For the shame of your youth you shall forget, the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember. 

Isaiah here is speaking of the Eternal Covenant of Peace from God. Our shame was that we as a people by our transgressions killed Christ, who was the messiah and our spiritual spouse, thus becoming widows, as a people. Isaiah tells us in advance that God in his love will no longer remember our reproaches. He will make us free; He will give us peace. The next verse of Isaiah makes this clear, “For your husband is your Maker; the LORD of hosts is his name, Your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.” 

Does our nation not realize that if we are the spouse of the God of all the earth, that we are committing murder of God’s own spiritual children through the legalization of abortion? 

Our Holy Father states that peace can only come when we confront the truth.[1]  

 

Jesus declared “I am the truth” (John 14: 6) and told Pontius Pilate “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18: 37). Because he is the Son of God, Jesus is the truth about who God is, and, because he is fully human, he is the truth about the human person.

 

What is that truth?

·         First, that God is Love, love that is willing to give all, even life itself, for the good of the beloved.

·         Second that the human person is precious to God, precious enough to die for.

 

When this truth is denied, the human person becomes subhuman, a problem, an object, or a threat. It becomes easy to destroy a mass of cells viewed as a threat. The human person may seem like a cancer on humanity and be treated as such, rather than as an individual for whom Jesus suffered and died.

Holy Saturday[2]

Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) 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 comes 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, fleshmeat 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.

Activities

·         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.

Holy Saturday Vigil [3] We should have during the morning and afternoon, a mournful remembrance of our Lord in the tomb. 

Prayer. GOD! Who makest this most sacred night illustrious by the glory of the resurrection of Our Lord, preserve in the new offspring of Thy family the spirit of adoption which Thou hast given them; that, being renewed in body and soul, they may serve Thee with purity of heart. 

EPISTLE. Colons, iii. 1-4. 

Brethren: If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, Who is your life, then you also shall appear with Him in glory. 

GOSPEL. Matt, xxviii. 1-7. 

In the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulcher. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven: and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him the guards were struck with terror and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you: for I know that you seek Jesus Who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye His disciples that He is risen and behold He will go before you into Galilee: there you shall see Him. Lo, I have foretold it to you. 

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.

 

Holy Water[4] 

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.”

 Priesthood[5]

 

In the bible a priest is a father—and even more of a father than our own earthly father. In the Old Testament the history of the priesthood had two periods: the patriarchal and the Levitical. The patriarchal was based on the family order that place authority down from father to first born son in the form of a “blessing” and the leadership of the building of altars and for the presenting of sacrifice for the family. Fathers are empowered as priests by nature. Fatherhood is the original basis of priesthood. The firstborn is the father’s heir apparent, the one groomed to succeed one day to paternal authority and priesthood within the family. Imagine the blow to the Egyptian with the last plague which killed the firstborn. The pattern continued into the Exodus. There God declared to Moses, “Israel is my firstborn son”—that is, among the many peoples of the earth, Israel was God’s heir and his priest. God in His mercy made all heirs through Christ and with Christ came a restoration of the natural priesthood of fathers and the establishment of a fatherly order of New Covenant Priests. To Christ, we are “the children God has given me”, the “Many sons”, “his bretheren”, the new “seed of Abraham” who together form God’s “family/household” which Jesus builds and rules as a son. As all Christians are identified with Christ, the Church becomes the “assembly of the firstborn.” (Heb. 2, 3, 12) In the truest sense priests are so much more than managers, they are fathers. True fatherhood involves the communication of life. Natural fathers communicate human life but in the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, a priest communicates divine life and the divine humanity of Jesus Christ. Every Priest therefore requires our respect in spite of their weaknesses or sins and we should pray for them. This is why our Holy Father asks us to pray for him.

Divine Mercy Novena[6]


Second Day - Today Bring Me the Souls of Priests and Religious.

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in us, that we may perform worthy works of mercy, and that all who see us may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father turn Your merciful gaze upon the company [of chosen souls] in Your vineyard - upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation, and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

Aids in Battle[7] The Enemy’s Strategies

·         The adversary of our human nature examines from every side all our virtues: theological, cardinal, and moral. Wherever he discovers the defenses of eternal salvation to be the weakest and most lacking, there he attacks and tries to take us by storm. ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA

·         [St. Catherine of Siena reports that Our Lord said to her:] I have told you that the Devil invites men to the water of death— that is, to the things he has. Then, blinding them with the pleasures and circumstances of the world, he catches them with the hook of pleasure through the lure of something good. He could catch them in no other way; they would not allow themselves to be caught if they saw that no good or pleasure for themselves could be obtained in this manner. For the soul, by her very nature, always relishes good. Yet it is true that the soul, blinded by self-love, does not know and discern what is truly good and profitable to the soul and to the body. So, the Devil, seeing them blinded by self-love, wickedly places before these souls diverse and various delights, colored so as to have the appearance of some benefit or good. He tempts each one, according to his condition, to those principal vices to which that soul seems to be most disposed.

·         When the sly demon, after using many devices, fails to hinder the prayer of the diligent, he desists for a little while. But when the man has finished his prayers, the demon takes his revenge. He either fires the man’s anger and thus destroys the good condition produced by prayer, or he excites an impulse toward some animal pleasure and thus mocks the man’s mind. ST. NILUS OF SINAI

Daily Devotions

·         Saturday Litany of the Hours Invoking the Aid of Mother Mary

·         Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 5

·         Manhood of the Master-week 7 day 4

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Iceman’s 40 devotion

·         Universal Man Plan

·         Rosary




[2]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2020-04-11

[3] Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896.

[4] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 1. Holy Water.

[5] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 21. Priesthood.

[6]https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=1032

[7] Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.



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