There is a pronounced emptiness as we move through Good Friday evening and the day of Holy Saturday. I’ve sometimes thought about what the apostles and followers of Jesus must have felt like and gone through during this time. Nine years ago, I set these musings to poetry which I have saved in a journal:
On that first Good Friday night
what a sad and lonely sight
must have been seen in some room
where mourners went to from the tomb.
Did they for comfort each embrace
with tears ling’ring on each face?
Was the sure hope of Easter strong
as for their Master they did long?
Did they believe that He would rise?
or did sorrow keep this from their eyes?
Depending on the answers here
there would be hope or troubled fear.
Regardless, there’d be sorrow to share
and loneliness for each to bear..
The night would close, and the new day
would bring more sorrow on their way.
As the Church relives this time,
hope of Easter sure does shine;
yet she does still participate
in this solemn pascal wait. (Good Friday evening, April 14, 2006)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers some beautiful material for spiritual reading, which I come back to just about every Holy Saturday morning. The whole section is worth reading, but I find the following excerpt especially beautiful:
- Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great 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…. He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, 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 Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him—He who is both their God and the son of Eve….” I am your God, who for your sake have become your son…. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”488
In our community, we try to observe silence during this holy time (Thursday until the Easter Vigil). Although work and other needs sometimes require conversation, refraining from unnecessary speaking can help us make this a time of more prayer and reflection.