4 Apr 2015

Holy Saturday Reflections - updated

The Edicule (the structure around the Tomb) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 
Our shepherd, the source of the water of life, has died.
The sun was darkened when he passed away.
But now man’s captor is made captive.
This is the day when our Savior broke through the gates of death.
He has destroyed the barricades of hell,
overthrown the sovereignty of the devil.
This is the day when our Savior broke through the gates of death.
– Responsory of the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday
Reflection Question from Seek first the Kingdom: There is a great silence and stillness on earth today. The Lord has died in the flesh and is in the cold tomb. It will not be the end of the story for Christ, but what of us? What am I doing now so that I might die with Jesus and thus rise with him?


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Our Shepherd, the source of living water has departed.
At his passing the sun was darkened,
for he who captured Adam is held captive now himself.
Today our Saviour has shattered the gates of bronze,
and battered down the barricades of hell.


Behold the blessed Sabbath, the holy day of rest,
on which the Son of God has rested from his works.
Today our Saviour has shattered the gates of bronze,
and battered down the barricades of hell.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Our Shepherd, the source of living water has departed.
At his passing the sun was darkened,
for he who captured Adam is held captive now himself.
Today our Saviour has shattered the gates of bronze,
and battered down the barricades of hell.


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Holy Saturday: Waiting to cross over - We tend to think of Holy Saturday as a day ‘in between’ Good Friday and Easter Sunday, without any particular significance of its own. But this could not be further from the truth, says James Hanvey SJ. It is a day that resists all of our attempts to understand it, but nonetheless we must ‘live in the realities of Holy Saturday’.

Between the Sadness of the Cross and the Joy of Easter — Biblical Reflection for Holy Saturday - Salt + Light

Holy Saturday - The Great Silence - Word on Fire

Holy Fear and the Shadow of the Cross - Today, the Church takes us under the shadow of Calvary to behold our salvation and to approach this sacred place requires a reverence and awe that are not of this world. The Man of Sorrows gives Himself for our salvation, lays down His life that we might live. We come here today because of the burden of guilt that we have carried for far to long, the reality of death that we cannot avoid, and the desire to be understood and loved, to be connected to Someone who can relieve the sense of alienation that we suffer, to the only One who can fulfill at last the desires of our hearts. We dare to call out to Him "remember me" because of the heart-piercing gifts by which the Holy Spirit moves our hearts.

Ennis Blue - reflections and links


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TODAY a tomb holds him, who holds creation in the hollow of his hands. Life sleeps, hell trembles, and Adam is delivered from his bonds. 
Let us see, O Lord, the light of your holy resurrection as we sing: « Glory to your mercy, O Christ! »
Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered: let those who hate him flee before him. 
Let us see, O Lord, the light of your holy resurrection as we sing: « Glory to your mercy, O Christ! »
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
TODAY a tomb holds him, who holds creation in the hollow of his hands. Life sleeps, hell trembles, and Adam is delivered from his bonds. 
Let us see, O Lord, the light of your holy resurrection as we sing: « Glory to your mercy, O Christ! »

Beginning of the epitaphios procession
at Great Saturday Matins - Orthodox tradition
(Source - Wikipedia)
In Eastern Orthodoxy this day, known as Holy and Great Saturday, is also called The Great Sabbath since it is on this day that Christ "rested" physically in the tomb. But it is also believed that it was on this day he performed in spirit the Harrowing of Hades and raised up to Paradise those who had been held captive there. In the Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, this day is known as Joyous Saturday.

Matins of Holy and Great Saturday (in parishes usually held on Friday evening) takes the form of a funeral service for Christ. The entire service takes place around the Epitaphios, an icon in the form of a cloth embroidered with the image of Christ prepared for burial. 

The first part of the service consists of chanting Psalm 118, as usual at both Saturday matins and at funerals, but interspersed with hymns (enkomia or lamentations) between the verses. The predominant theme of the service is not so much one of mourning, but of watchful expectation:[5]

Today Thou dost keep holy the seventh day,
Which Thou has blessed of old by resting from Thy works.
Thou bringest all things into being and Thou makest all things new,
Observing the Sabbath rest, my Saviour, and restoring strength.

Near the end of matins, at the end of the Great Doxology, the Epitaphios is taken up and carried in procession around the outside of the church, while the Trisagion is sung, as is done when carrying the body to the cemetery in an Orthodox burial.


Our Lady of Solitude
Today, the earth in vigil keeps
The Sabbath of the Bridegroom blest.
The Cross, in stillness, bare now stands,
As Christ the Lord is laid to rest.
Today, the pow’r of hell is crushed.
The gates of bronze are trampled down.
The Lord of life now marches in
To wake the dead and claim his crown.
Today, he calls them, by their names,
Those souls enslaved since Adam’s Fall.
He comes to save them from hell’s grasp:
The Christ, who died to save them all.
Today, our righteous forebears sing,
And David’s harp rings out in praise
Of Christ, their conq’ring risen Lord,
Who lives and reigns for length of days. 
Amen.

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