“Though sinless, the Lord has been put to death. The world is in mourning as for an only son (Psalmody, Antiphon 1, Divine Office Holy Saturday).”
Holy Saturday begins with a mix of emotions. While a growing sense of anticipation is palpable an acute tinge of sorrow remains. Good Friday was physically and emotionally exhausting – and if celebrated deeply, it should be. By Good Friday Night Prayer, our bodies should be feeling the effects of a day of strict fasting, and just as our hearts and souls ache from contemplating the suffering and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we settle down to slumber with a “May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death,” still on our lips from Night Prayer, we entrust body and soul to the compassionate and providential care of Our God.
Now Holy Saturday has dawned! It was a glorious sunrise! As I stood outside in my pj’s this morning, the dogs played in the snow and mud as the first streaks of golden dawn illuminated the sky. The air was filled with the song of newly nesting cranes and Canada Geese. The pair of trumpeter swans that I had witnessed fly overhead two mornings ago made their voices heard amid the symphony of creation. I literally stood there and thanked God for His goodness – we had crucified Him with our sins, and yet in each generation He continues to lavish the magnificence of His bounty upon each of us and our progeny.
As I brought my kids to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians for an early morning practice for tonight’s Easter Vigil, the flowers has been lovingly arranged around the main altar and Shrine chapel. The tabernacle remains empty – someone is missing. Yet, the Resurrection is a certainty – it has been promised and our redemption is at hand. Today, as we prepare to celebrate the most sacred Solemnity of the year, let us strive to profoundly adore our Crucified Christ with all of the devotion and love we can possibly offer. By worshipping Him intensely and immersing ourselves in the mystery of salvation, may we be blessed to share fully the Glory of His Resurrection for all Eternity.
As we prepare for the jubilant celebration of Easter, and the glorious octave that will follow, with gratitude we turn our gaze toward the unfathomable gifts our Lord bestows in His immeasurable love. The greatest of these is His Mercy.
As we prepare for the Feast of Divine Mercy, which occurs exactly one week after Easter, we reflect upon the immeasurable depth of God’s Mercy, and our personal response to that gift.
Regarding the gift of His Divine Mercy Our Lord told St. Maria Faustina:
“My Mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or an angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of my most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity (699, p. 286– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
We thus continue our preparation for the Feast of Divine Mercy, a Feast instituted by Our Lord, on which He tells us that “the very depths of His mercy are open.” In preparation, we continue our novena of chaplets. Remember, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed on ordinary rosary beads. This link to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception Website gives clear directions for praying the Chaplet of Mercy: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.
Today we also continue the novena dictated by our Lord to St. Maria Faustina. This novena, initiated for her private devotion, offers spiritual fruit for all who pray it faithfully. On each of the nine consecutive days prior to the Feast of Divine Mercy, Jesus requested that St. Faustina immerse a certain group of souls in the ocean of His Mercy. Our Lord would in turn bring those souls into the House of Our Heavenly Father. On the second day of the novena, Sr. Faustina was instructed to pray especially for the souls of the priests and religious.
Our Lord instructed:
“Today bring Me the souls of the priests and religious and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon all mankind (1212, p. 436– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”
For the entire text of St. Faustina’s novena Day 2, please visit the Marians of the Immaculate Conception site at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/secondday.php.
Like St. Maria Faustina, let us endeavor to bring the souls of priests and religious into to abyss of Christ’s mercy. These faithful men and women are consecrated to the service of the Lord. They are the beloved laborers in His vineyard. Without them the channels of grace would close.
Without priests there would be no Mass. There would be no one to Baptize, washing away the stain of original sin, and bringing the Light of the Holy Spirit to our souls, and those of our children. Without priests there would be no Eucharist to nourish our souls, nor sacrament of penance to reconcile us to God when we had rejected His love. Without priests, we would have no hope of becoming soldiers for Christ, or having our marriages become truly sacramental unions. Without priests, our souls would never have the sacramental grace given as we prepare to leave this life and enter into the next. Our priests are a treasure, one this secular world often despises and rejects.
So too let us remember the religious sisters and brothers who support the church and the society with prayer, sacrifice, and works of charity. These hidden souls labor perpetually for the salvation of the world, and receive little positive attention for their monumental efforts. Just as the secular world disdains the priests so too it seems to revel in ridiculing the very existence of religious sisters and brothers. In appreciation for the tremendous gift of priests and religious, let us follow Christ’s request, and immerse them in the abyss of His mercy, and present them to the Heavenly Father for His blessing.
Wishing you and yours the joy of a glorious Easter.
Praise the Lord for He is Risen!
Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!
Ad Jesum per Mariam
** Divine Mercy Celebrations will be held at churches world-wide in accordance with Our Lord’s directive to St. Maria Faustina. Confessions, Holy Mass (often at 3 p.m.) and the singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy usually occur at these events. There is a true outpouring of grace at these events.
Contact your local Archdiocesan Office for details and locations of hosting churches.
The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill hosts a beautiful celebration. For more information regarding that celebration visit the site: https://www.holyhill.com/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=741&Itemid=50&year=2013&month=04&day=07&title=sunday-of-divine-mercy-&uid=dfc595f576ed1845fa495278cafe52ea&catids=6|3
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse also will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. For More information visit their site at: http://www.guadalupeshrine.org/events/divine-mercy-sunday