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Holy Saturday: Come and Mourn With Me Awhile

By Jennifer Gregory Miller (bio - articles - email) | Apr 04, 2015

To me, Holy Saturday is the longest and the hardest of the days of the Triduum. It is a day of limbo; life is in a kind of suspension. Except for the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) or Blessing of Easter Baskets (or Blessing of Animals on Olvera Street in Los Angeles), there is no liturgy until the Easter Vigil later tonight. 

The Church contemplates and mourns Christ dead in the tomb. 

When one experiences a death of a loved one, much needs to be done until the burial. There is the arranging of the body, the casket, the funeral arrangements, the viewing, the rosary, the funeral Mass and the burial. In between all those is the providing of needs of the family, to make sure everyone has the appropriate clothes for the services, accommodations for traveling family, meals to feed everyone. So many activities occupy everyone that there is little time to sit and mourn. It has often been said that the grieving comes hardest after the burial. Everyone has left. All those activities are ended. Normal life is supposed to resume, but there is a big gaping absence. And the family mourns alone. And mourns in silence.

This is similar to the Triduum. There has been so much activity, both preparation and the celebration of the actual liturgies. The Church has been following the actions of Christ in His last days: the Last Supper, the agony in the Garden of Olives, the arrest, the trials, the condemnation to crucifixion, the way of the Cross, the crucifixion and death of Christ, and then the burial.

Now, all is quiet. We are alone, and are supposed to resume our daily lives. But we feel the loss of Christ. We feel that gaping hole (reflected in the empty tabernacle and no liturgy for the day). 

Our family will be busy with different preparations for Easter Sunday, but we realize it is not Easter yet. I will be baking our lamb cake and arranging the Easter table decorations. Later our family will decorate Easter eggs with beautiful symbols of the Resurrection and liberally writing that "A" word we have avoided for 43 days. Once in a while we will catch ourselves accidentally singing an Easter hymn with the Alleluia and we are quickly corrected. Easter doesn't begin until the Easter Vigil when the Paschal Candle is lighted and the Alleluia is sung. 

We have to wait a little while longer. 

Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, home schooler, and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org's liturgical year section. See full bio.

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