Why Holy Saturday Isn’t a Day of Sorrow

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By Brian Niemiec

One of my earliest memories of Holy Saturday was asking my father why Grandpop only ate bread and water on the Saturday before Easter.  I don’t even remember my dad’s response, but every year my Grandpop would eat only a little bread and water as he waited for Easter morning.  I used to think that his practice was a continuation of the fasting and repentance that the Church practices on Good Friday.  Yet this simple meal for a humble and loving man speaks less to fasting, and more to the true nature of Holy Saturday.

Each Gospel account to a greater or lesser extent portrays the Apostles in a less than flattering light. Throughout the ministry of Jesus we come to understand that at many times these twelve men were not the sharpest knives on the first century Palestine cutting block.  A particularly challenging concept for them was the Resurrection.  Jesus told them that the Son of God must be killed, and on the third day he will rise. He tried parables. He tried stories. He tried allegory. He tried the direct approach, and yet the Apostles were at a loss. 

Due to their lack of comprehension (and faith?), the Apostles fled in fear during and after the crucifixion. Even Peter, the rock of the future Church, denies Jesus and lurks in the shadows; not daring to get too close.  The first Holy Saturday was not a happy occasion. The followers of Jesus hid behind a locked door, and worried if they too would be sentenced to death.  It was only after Jesus’ resurrection, when he appeared in the midst of the disciples, did the true joy and meaning of the last few days make sense.  

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Links Worth Clicking: Holy Triduum Edition

By Katie Morroni

Here’s hoping this Lent has been a fruitful one — and that we may all find new meaning in both uniting with Christ’s suffering on Good Friday and sharing in the joy of His Resurrection on Easter.

Here are some links you may enjoy clicking as we head into the weekend:

1. Bishop Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska (and formerly of my parish here in Denver) led prisoners in Mass this week. His beautiful homily is here (“God is calling you men to be the saints of this prison.”) and the moving photos are not to be missed on his Facebook page.

2. Pope Francis’ reflection on Jesus’ final moments on the cross, at his general audience on April 1st:

“How beautiful it would be if all of us, at the end of our lives, with our mistakes, our sins, even with our good works and our love for our neighbor, can say to the Father as Jesus did, ‘It is finished.’ Not with the perfection (of Jesus) but saying, ‘Lord, I did everything that I could. It is finished,’” the pope said, speaking off the cuff.

3. …See also: The Way of the Cross, led by Pope Francis

4. Speaking of the pope, it’s a new month, which means the pope has new prayer intentions he’d like you to include when you pray. (Apostleship of Prayer)

5. …and speaking of the Way of the Cross, I’ve mentioned it here before, but now that I’ve started working through it myself, I have to recommend again the Pray As You Go take on the Stations of the Cross.

6. These nuns provide ‘death with dignity’ – but it’s not assisted suicide (Patheos)

7. The one thing you need to enter the mysteries of Holy Week (Word on Fire)

8. The Angelus at Work (America Magazine)

9. A beautiful take on 9 different kinds of silence — and worth a read as we enter into a time that benefits from a little silence and stillness (Brain Pickings)

10. An oldie but goodie: Harvard Business Review asks, “Why do we keep multitasking when it disrupts our concentration and saps our focus?” It’s an article written for business professionals, but worth considering for our prayer lives, too…

11. This reflection about Judas made me think. (Fr. James Martin)

12. Finally, just for fun… This is for those of us who wish we knew how to make something beautiful out of our palms after Palm Sunday:

Have a very happy, blessed Easter!

More than PreCana – Part II, Why Marriage Scares Me Sometimes

By Brian Niemiec

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Last Wednesday marked four months until my wedding with Ellen on July 25th. So many things are starting to happen now, and I am really excited to embark on this amazing adventure! Lent has given me the space to more intentionally pray and sit with this big life change that is approaching, and while I cannot wait to marry Ellen in July, there is a piece of me that continues to be nervous. For a while I had trouble putting my finger on it. I started thinking about how final this was, and what would happen if life didn’t work out the way I planned. What if marriage didn’t live up to my hopes, dreams, and expectations? I started sounding very… well… selfish.

Most of us who read and write for this blog are all too aware of the pervasive individualism that is at the very heart of our society. Consuming goods for our pleasure, and spending time in ways that satisfy our wants is a very well taught lesson in American life, and this lesson is indeed at odds with what is required in a marriage. Yet, I think the hardest thing to overcome is not the standard social norms (at least we can name those), but rather the experience of living the glamorized single life.

Continue reading More than PreCana – Part II, Why Marriage Scares Me Sometimes