Embracing the Emptiness of Holy Saturday

Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled. – From an Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday

On this Holy Saturday, as we anticipate the Resurrection of the Lord, there is a great stillness. In our churches the altar is stripped bare, the tabernacle is empty. We know what is coming, but there is still that sense of emptiness.

Fr. Edward Looney, a regular Morning Air® contributor, offered some suggestions of how to observe this time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and use this time of emptiness to enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery.

Fr. Looney suggested, “We could fill that emptiness with silence. To allow God to speak to us in that silence. We can also fill ourselves with good things to meditate on. There are lots of great spiritual writers out there who have written great books about the Passion, about Good Friday. We can think of Pope Benedict XVI who wrote the Jesus of Nazareth set, or Fulton Sheen who wrote Life of Christ.”

“Or it could be reading from the Sacred Scriptures,” Fr. Looney added. “It really fills us and allows us to think about all the things that Jesus observed.”

Another way that Holy Saturday feels empty is that after the devotions and liturgies of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, you may think there’s nothing to do today but wait for the Easter celebration. But Father Looney pointed out that the Church offers us a way to lean into that emptiness, to make room in our hearts and souls for the joy of Easter.

“From Good Friday into Holy Saturday, in the Roman Missal, it talks about the Paschal Fast, and how one would begin on Holy Thursday night and it would go through all the way to the Easter Vigil,” Fr. Looney pointed out.

He suggested, “Really keeping that fast that we hold on Good Friday. It could be even just eating simple meals. Still in that spirit that there’s something not right with the world because Christ has died and we are awaiting the glorious news of His Resurrection at the Easter Vigil or on Easter Sunday.”

If you are looking for a way to dive deep and reflect on the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, Father Rocky’s Holy Week Mission offers five powerful reflections on the Paschal Mystery. It is a meaningful way to focus your heart and prepare your soul to celebrate the glory of Easter.

Listen to the full conversation with Fr. Edward Looney below:

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.