The beautiful, ancient observances of Holy Saturday are the oldest in the Church. This is the day that we enter into the great mystery of the Resurrection from the dead of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is the last day of Lent, but it is the day on which the fasting of Lent is over. Since Our Blessed Lord died for us on Good Friday, Holy Mother Church stopped fasting on Holy Saturday in anticipation of Easter Sunday. Also, throughout the centuries, Saturday and Sunday never became known for penance, though some would observe a light fast. Saturday was given to Our Blessed Lady Mary, Our Dear Blessed Mother and Mother of the Church, and Sunday was, of course given to the celebration of the defeat of death by Jesus, Our Saviour. Every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection and every Saturday is a celebration of His Holy Mother; thus, weddings are traditionally held on Saturday.
There is no celebration of the Mass on Holy Saturday, just like Good Friday, since the Mass of the Easter Vigil is properly belonging to Easter Sunday; sundown being ritualistically part of the next day. The only time the Blessed Eucharist is given on Holy Saturday is when someone is in danger of death; thus Viaticum, (the final Holy Communion) is the only time a Catholic may communicate on this day.
There are so many wonderful reasons for the practices of Holy Mother Church and they are all waiting to be discovered! Simply read and pray and God will lead you to what you need to know.
On this day let us remember those who are suffering in this world and those Catholics and all Christians that are being persecuted for love of Christ. Pray for your family and for your own soul. Be grateful that you can worship God without persecution. Pray for the Ukraine, pray for prisoners, pray for the homeless and pray for the tortured.
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment.
While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Thy five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Thy prophet said of Thee, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones.”
Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra per quem salvati et liberati sumus.- We should glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is our salvation, our life and our resurrection; through Him we are saved and made free.
Maundy Thursday, (from the latin maundatus-to command) is a marvelous and rich holy day, second only to Holy Saturday in ancient observance in Holy Mother Church. It is the night in which we celebrate the institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament; the first Holy Mass, celebrated in anticipation of the Passion of Our Lord BY Our Lord Himself, in the presence of His apostles, thus teaching them how to worship Almighty God till that glorious and terrible Day of His Appearing on the clouds of glory!
He would not leave this to the chance recollection of men. No, He commanded what His bishops were to do until the end of time. It was in the upper room that He ordained them His first bishops, the first priests of the New Order, that which completes and deepens and expands the Old. “Lesser rites are ended, newer rites prevail.”
“AND HE BREATHED UPON THEM…” “Thou art a priest forever; according to the order of Melchisedec!” “Receive ye the power to offer sacrifice unto God and to say Mass.” “Whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins thou shalt retain- they are retained.”
This was also the night in which He was betrayed. The night He was imprisoned, something we often forget. He is the Holy Patron of all prisoners. Let us pray for those who are imprisoned, whether justly or unjustly. Let us visit them and help them as we would Our Blessed Lord. This is a corporal work of mercy that is commanded of us, along with feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and all other good works which we are bound to do, which should flow from our hearts in love as goodness and kindness flow from the Sacred Heart of Jesus to us who have not merited such grace.
Pray for priests today and pray in thanksgiving for all the graces that have come to you and to the world through the hands of the consecrated priest. Pray especially for those traditional priests that are cut off from fellowship because of the worldwide falling away, and who suffer often in loneliness.
“To live in the midst of this world with no desire for its pleasures; to be a member of every family, yet belonging to none; to share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets and to heal all wounds. To go daily from men to God to offer Him their homage and petitions; to return from God to men to bring them His pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity; to bless and to be blessed forever. O God, what a life this is- and it is yours, O priest of Jesus Christ!”
-Fr. Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, O.P. 1802-1861
Let us prepare our hearts and minds for this coming great week that Holy Mother Church calls HOLY. May we be open to all the graces God intends for us. Through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary may we rest in the Most Sacred Heart of her beloved Son. Remember the promises of the Sacred Heart this week and “Behold the Heart that has so loved men!”
It is appropriate that the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated sometimes in Lent, as it is this year. Our Lady suffered along with Our Blessed Lord and her mystical communion with her Son is a type of fellowship we should strive toward.
Our Lady Mary is closer to God than any other creature. This is because she is Daughter of the Heavenly Father, Mother of the Redeeming Son and Spouse of the Holy Ghost, Three in One. No other being has this relationship to Almighty God! As she is infinitely above us in sanctity because of her position in salvation history and the unmerited grace of Christ upon the Cross of Calvary, so is she infinitely below the Almighty and Ever Living God. She is our sweet advocate with her Divine Son, but she is not a goddess or divine herself. She leads us to the Divine, to her Son, Eternal Word and Creator, Jesus the only Christ.
Let us meditate on her Seven Sorrows as we prepare for Holy Week, where we will ritually enact and enter into the great events of our salvation by the Lord of Love. These are her sorrows:
1. The Prophesy of Simeon, (with the prophetess Saint Anna)- “Behold, thine own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed!” Here in the gospels we have definitive proof of the biblical foundation of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Protestants do not fulfill this prophesy, only the Catholic Church reveals what this passage means. If there be not devotion to Our Blessed Mother, how can “the thoughts of many hearts be revealed?” Remember this for it is important and ask your protestant friends about this amazing gospel prophesy.
2. The Flight Into Egypt. Fleeing from Herod, the evil one, Our Lady and Our Lord trust God through the intercession and family headship of great Saint Joseph. It is also very interesting that later on Saint Paul calls Our Lord the Chief Cornerstone. What is a chief cornerstone? Do you know? I have learned from architects that there is actually only one type of building that has a chief cornerstone. Do you know what it is? It is a pyramid! A pyramid is the only structure that has a chief cornerstone, which is at its apex and covers all four sides. Fascinating, eh?! Why is Our Lord called the Chief Cornerstone? Because He fulfills ALL VALID REVELATION in and of Himself. The just aspirations of even the pagans are realized in Christ Jesus, Who brings them out of death and into Life through His perfect Life, salvific death and glorious resurrection.
3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple. As Our Lady and St. Joseph found their dear Son being about His Father’s business, so we will find Our Lord when we begin our search in the holies. We must go to the temple of our hearts where He finds us and brings us into our rightful destiny.
4. The Meeting of Jesus and His Mother On the Way of the Cross. If we do not suffer with Our Lord, we will never reign with Him. Without the Cross there is no Crown. Without the Crown of Thorns there is no halo of light; and if there is never a Good Friday in your life, there will never be an Easter Sunday.
5. The Crucifixion. We are crucified with Our Lord and all that is unworthy of Him and ourselves IN Him, is sacrificed on the altar of Love, where we are forgiven by express command of Jesus from the Cross- “Father forgive them… It is finished.”
6. The Taking Down From the Cross of the Body of Jesus, which is laid in the arms of the Virgin Mother. Having suffered psychically with Our Lord and joining herself in her Immaculate Heart to the Sufferings of Her Son, she merits the title Sorrowful which is added to that of Immaculate Heart of Mary. We join ourselves with her and those few who were faithful to the end- among whom were His best friend and the former prostitute who was forgiven much. It is another interesting fact that it was mostly women who were faithful to the end! It is always the women, co-creators with God in bringing immortal souls to life, that stay with Our Lord. Thank God for women!
7. The Laying of the Body of Our Lord in the tomb. When all seems lost, just fulfilling our vocation and “being there,” being where we are supposed to be, brings immeasurable rewards. “He who is faithful to the end; that is the one who will be saved!”
As we enter this profound week, remember that you are all in my thoughts and prayers and you are remembered at the altar.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon my breast’.
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Behold, I freely give the Living Water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live’:
I came to Jesus and I drank of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived and now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise and all thy day be bright.’
I looked to Jesus and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
and in that Light of Life I’ll walk- till traveling days are done.
-Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889
Here I am, good and gentle Jesus, kneeling before Thee in my poor heart. With great fervor I pray and ask Thee to instill in me genuine convictions of faith, hope and charity, with true sorrow for my sins and a firm resolve to amend my life, the life that Thou hast given me. While I contemplate Thy five wounds with great love and compassion, I remember the words which the prophet David long ago put on Thy lips: “They have pierced my hands and my feet, I can count all my bones.” Have mercy upon me, sweet Jesus, and upon all those whom I love and do not love. Amen.
Today we celebrate a real man, great Saint Joseph. Scripture says of him, “He was a just man.” He was kind, loving , gentle and incredibly strong. Attuned to the Heart of God, He protected his family by fleeing to Egypt. We know that Saint Joseph was probably a widower when he was espoused to the Blessed Mother. It was often the custom for an older man to become the protector of a girl who had vowed her virginity in a life of prayer at the temple in Jerusalem. Thus, he would become her husband, but many times no children would issue from the marriage.
In hebrew the word for sister and brother was the same word used for cousins or any relation by blood or marriage. Thus, when scripture talks of the siblings of Our Blessed Lord, it is not talking of blood sisters or brothers from Blessed Mary, but step siblings and cousins. It is probable that Our Lord’s “brothers and sisters” were his step siblings from Saint Joseph’s previous marriage.
Also, we know from Holy Tradition that Saint Joseph was older. This is why he was not present later in Our Lord’s life. This is why He made provision from the Cross for His Holy Mother. If she had other children by Joseph there would be no need for Our Lord to make sure she had a home. “Woman, behold thy son! Son, behold thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Notice Our Blessed Lord calls her WOMAN- Acknowledging her as the New Eve.)
Saint Joseph is the patron of the dying because he had Our Lord and Our Lady at his bedside when he died. How wonderful and sweet that leave taking must have been! How beautiful that he would become the patron of all of us on our deathbeds.
O God, Who in Thy unspeakable providence did choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother, grant that as we venerate him on earth, we may deserve to have him as our protector in heaven. Blessed be Jesus in His angels and in His saints! Amen.