Holy Saturday Lauds (Morning Prayer)

posted in: Homilies, Triduum | 0

Today, the Church asks us to do something that is almost impossible for we modern people to do, and that is to be silent. Today, we continue to keep the Paschal Fast until the end of the Easter Vigil. That means we eat less, speak less, do less – all to keep the silence of this time.  This is the time that has Jesus in the tomb.  This is the time where Jesus descends into hell.

We don’t rush the resurrection, because we need to sit in the uncertainty and wait for the working out of our salvation. It’s not unlike the uncertainty we experience when we are awaiting test results for a serious illness. Or when one job ends and a new opportunity has yet to open up. Or when a relationship breaks and we have to wait our way through the healing. The uncertainty, the meanwhile, requires us to sit in the silence and await salvation.

There is a lot going on in the meanwhile, even though we don’t see it. There was on that first Holy Saturday. An ancient homily for this day puts it this way:

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Tonight our Elect – and one infant! – are to be baptized into Christ. Tonight we will hear the stories of salvation and keep vigil for our Risen Lord. That’s tonight. For now, we fast and pray and keep silence, letting the significance of this moment sink in, waiting for the working out of our salvation.

And maybe we join our waiting to the wisdom of Saint Joseph, whose silence throughout the Gospel allowed the salvation of all the world to be worked out.