11 April – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – Sabbatum Sanctum – “He has ripped open a hole in history that can never be filled-in again.”

Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday – 11 April – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:2, Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 or Psalm 33:4-7, 12-13, 20-22, Genesis 22:1-18, Psalm 16:5, 8-11, Exodus 14:15–15:1, Responsorial psalm Exodus 15:1-6, 17-18, Isaiah 54:5-14, Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13, Isaiah 55:1-11, Responsorial psalm Isaiah 12:2-6, Baruch 3:9-15, 32–4:4, Psalm 19:8-11, Ezekiel 36:16-28, Psalm 42:3, 5; 43:3-4, Romans 6:3-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 15-17, 22-23, Matthew 28:1-10

lumen christi easter-vigil-in-the-holy-night-31-march-2018 and 11 april 2020

In these most difficult times, when we are excluded from our Churches, from our Sacraments, I have found much consolation in doing all the readings at home, with these reflections from Cardinal-elect (nearly – sadly he died just before the ceremony) Hans Urs.  Perhaps, these times are “nothing but occurrences of grace.”

easter morning - the tomb empty resurrection gettyimages-1134712261-romolotavani1200

Light of the Word
Genesis 22:1-18, Exodus 14:15–15:1, Matthew 28:1-10
By Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
Cardinal-elect, Theologian

“He has Ripped Open a Hole in History that Can Never be Filled-in Again.”

1. With Jesus’ death, the word of God ends.
In the weariness of Mary, pierced by every possible sword of suffering, the Church mutely holds vigil at the grave.
All living faith, all living hope, is deposited with God.
No premature Alleluia sounds.
The watching and waiting Church takes the time to recall the long path through all stages of salvation history that God has followed with His people, since the creation of the world – seven events unfold before the Church’s spiritual eyes.
She sees salvation, even in the most difficult of all events – in Abraham’s sacrifice, in the narrow escape across the divided sea, in the homecoming from exile.
And she understands, that they were nothing but occurrences of grace.
The sacrifice of Isaac, ultimately confirmed, both Abraham’s obedience and God’s promises;  apparent submersion in the sea, proved to be Israel’s salvation and the burial of it’s enemies;  exile itself, was Israel’s lengthy purification and return to God.1233px-The_dead_Christ_and_three_mourners,_by_Andrea_Mantegnabotticelli lamentation over the dead christ 1492 detail

2. Thus, in the second reading (Exodus 14:15-15:1) the Church recognises that her own death in Baptism, is a dying with Jesus, a dying into eternal salvation n Him, a dying into resurrection with Him toward God, into a new sinless and deathless life.
No mere ceremony can accomplish this miracle – only a genuine “co-crucifixion” with Christ, of the old, sinful man, a co-crucifixion that permits a co-dying and co-burial to take place, can accomplish this.
This is essentially, a gift given by God to the person baptised, a gift that is also a lifelong challenge to make the gift come true in the Christian’s existence.
The two belong inseparably together, if the gift given in Christ is to prevail in the Christian’s life – he must become what he is, he must unfold what he has!
Thus the shift from Good Friday to Easter, must be two things at once – joy at the most sublime gift and determination to keep one’s baptismal promises.
It is fitting to renew these promises while celebrating the Easter Vigil.

vasili nesterenko the crucifixion 1997


3. Only now, can the holy women hear the angel’s message.
He invites the women to come closer and view the empty place where Jesus lay.
“He is not here.”
No longer visible, tangible, confirmable in time and place – all this must be renounced.
In all of world history, no-one has left so “emply a place” behind, as did this person who was buried here, only yesterday.
He who entered history, with such emphasis, is no longer comprehensible within history.
“He is risen, as he said,” He has ripped open a hole in history that can never be filled-in again.
Thorough guarding of the grave could not prevent this opening and the more men try to fill it, to plug it up, the wider it gapes.
Instead of this emptiness, the women are given the joy of their message to the disciples, a joy that is further intensified, when the Lord Himself appears to them and renews the mission:  “They should go to Galilee, where they will see me.”
There, where everything had begun, in the ordinariness of a secular calling, new life would begin.
In the unpretentious, begins the incomprehensibly unique!

Be blessed, be joyful for the Lord is HERE!   ‘Become what you are, unfold what you have!’tissot - 3 women at the empty tomb

Appearance-of-Christ-to-his-Disciples EASTER RESURRECTION


Thought for the Day – 11 April – Jesus is Condemned to Death

Thought for the Day – 11 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Jesus is Condemned to Death

“Pilate was neither wicked nor cruel.
He was a weak opportunist who placed his position as Governor of Judea and his own personal interests above everything else in life.
He was prepared, moreover, to adopt the meanest of compromises.
He had acquitted Jesus, because, he believed Him to be innocent.
But he panicked as soon as he heard the crowd shouting and the Jewish priests accusing him of being no friend of the Emperor.
Then, he had recourse to an expedient.
When he saw Jesus covered with blood, crowned with thorns and clothed in purple rags, he showed Him to the crowd, in the hope, that their frenzied hearts would be touched with compassion.
He said only a few simple words.
“Behold the man!”
He wished them to see the condition to which this man had been reduced, who had been accused and mocked by them.
Looking like a trampled worm, He would stir up pity in every heart.   In the crowd, there were people who had been enchanted by the glory of His heavenly teaching.
Some of them had listened to Him in Jerusalem only a few days previously, when He was greeted by tumults of applause.
Others had received favours and miracles from Him.
But the good folk remained silent, for they could not summon up the courage to express any sentiments of gratitude or of humanity, in that gathering.
A roar drowned the words of Pilate.
“Let Him be crucified!”

Sometimes, when we see what is good and just, a rebellious impulse suddenly rises up inside us.
Unfortunately, we may yield to it on occasion and stifle the higher inspirations, which we receive.
Let us resolve never to be guilty of weak or unworthy conduct towards Jesus and to obey at all costs, the dictates of a sound conscience.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

behold the man - bacci 11 april 2020 holy sat


Quote/s of the Day – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – I am the Christ.

Quote/s of the Day – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday –

Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

“Darkness is not dark for you and night shines as the day” (Ps 138:12)

“…He slept so that we might be awakened,
He died so that we might live.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church

psalm 138 12 darkness is not dark - he slept so that we might be awakend - st augustine holy sat 20 april 2019

In Praise of Christ

Born as a son,
led forth as a lamb,
sacrificed as a sheep,
buried as a man,
He rose from the dead as a God,
for He was by nature God and man.

He is all things:
He judges and so He is Law,
He teaches and so He is Wisdom,
He saves and so He is Grace,
He begets and so He is Father,
He is begotten and so He is Son,
He suffers and so He is Sacrifice,
He is buried and so He is man,
He rises again and so He is God.
This is Jesus Christ,
to whom belongs glory for all ages.

in praise of christ born as a son led forth as a lamb st melito of sardis 11 april 2020

“The Lord, though He was God, became man.
He suffered for the sake of whose who suffer,
He was bound for those in bonds,
condemned for the guilty,
buried for those who lie in the grave
but He rose from the dead and cried aloud:
“Who will contend with me? Let him confront me.”
I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life,
raised men from their graves.
Who has anything to say against me?
I, He said, am the Christ, I have destroyed death,
triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot,
bound the strong one and taken men up to the heights of heaven.
I am the Christ.
Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you.
I am your forgiveness.
I am the Passover that brings salvation.
I am the lamb who was immolated for you.
I am your Ransom, your Life, your Resurrection, your Light, I am your Salvation and your King.
I will bring you to the heights of heaven.
With my own right hand I will raise you up
and I will show you the eternal Father.”

– from a letter by Saint Melito of Sardis

Saint Melito, Bishop of Sardis (Died c 180)
Early Church Father



One Minute Reflection – 11 April – ‘And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.’

One Minute Reflection – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Readings: Romans 6:3-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 15-17, 22-23, Matthew 28:1-10

And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet and did him homage. … Matthew 28:9matthew 28 9 and behold jesus met them on their way and greeted them - holy sat 11 april 2020

REFLECTION – “When the third day dawned of the Lord’s sacred repose in the tomb (…) Christ, the “power and Wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24), with the author of death lying prostrate, conquered even death itself and opened to us access to eternity, when He raised Himself from the dead by His divine power in order to make known to us the paths of life.

Then there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, with raiment like snow and his countenance like lightening.   He appeared attractive to the devout and severe to the wicked – for he terrified the soldiers and comforted the timid women, to whom the Lord Himself first appeared after rising, because their intense devotion so merited.   Then He was seen by Peter, then by the disciples going to Emmaus, then by all the apostles except Thomas.   Later He presented Himself to be touched by Thomas, who proclaimed his faith:  “My Lord and my God.”   And thus, during forty days, He appeared in many ways to His disciples, both eating and drinking with them.

He enlightened our faith with proofs and lifted up our hope with promises, so as finally to enkindle our love with gifts from heaven.” … St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Churchhe enlightened our faith with proofs - st bonaventure holy sat 11 april 2020

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, whose only-begotten Son, descended to the realm of the dead and rose from there in glory, grant that Your faithful people, who were buried with Him in Baptism, may, by His Resurrection, obtain eternal life.   With Mary His Mother, who in her sorrow remained with Him at the Cross and by whose prayers we receive succour, grant that we too will be with Him in glory.   Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mother of sorrows pray for us 20 april 2019 holy sat


Our Morning Offering – 11 April – Beautiful and Glorious

Our Morning Offering – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

Beautiful and Glorious
By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

I look at You, my Lord Jesus
and think of Your most holy Body
and I keep it before me
as the pledge of my own resurrection.
Though I die, as die I certainly shall,
nevertheless, I shall not forever die,
for I shall rise again.
O You, who are the Truth,
I know and believe,
with my whole heart,
that this very flesh of mine will rise again.
I know, base and odious as it is at present,
that it will one day, if I be worthy,
be raised incorruptible
and altogether beautiful and glorious.
This I know, this by Your grace,
I will ever keep before me.
Amenbeautiful and glorious - bl john henry newman - holy sat 10 april 2020


Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday, The “Second Sabbath”- 11 April

Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday, The “Second Sabbath” – 11 April

Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) is sacred as the day of the Lord’s rest.   It has been called the “Second Sabbath” after creation.
The day is and should be, the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function.Descent-from-the-Cross-Pieter-van-Mol-838x1102 deposition

Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns.
After the great battle He is resting in peace but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering…
The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible…Jesus’ enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander.jesus-burial-tomb-1083559-wallpaper-copy-1024x769

Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart.
When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed.

We are tempted to rush from Good Friday to Easter.   Mother Church with wisdom, separates the two with Holy Saturday – a day of peace and rest – a day to quietly ponder and pray – a day to sit in silence at the tomb of Jesus.   “What is happening?   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.”   We do not need words to express our misery.   We need silence to ponder the mystery.   Silence is the best expression of what is deepest in us, for silence alone, can express what words cannot.


According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary – she is the “credentium collectio universa” (the gathering of the universal Church) (Congregation for Divine Worship, Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73).
Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord’s tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of His Resurrection.james tissot - 2 marys watch at the tomb
The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church – while the body of her Son lies in the tomb and His soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation, from the shadow of darkness to His ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgysorrowful mother with apostle peter maybe

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 11 April – Saint Barsanuphius the Hermit

Saint of the Day – 11 April – Saint Barsanuphius the Hermit (Died c 563) Hermit, Spiritual guide gifted with the charism of Prophecy, miracle-worker – also known as St Barsanuphius of Gaza, of Palestine and of Oria and Barsanofio (Italian).    Patronage – Oria, City and Diocese.san-barsanofrio

Saint Barsanuphius was born in Egypt (the year of his birth is unknown).   From his youth, he began to lead an ascetic life.   Later he built a cell near the monastery of Saint Seridon of Gaza in Palestine.   Locked in his cell, the ascetic led a life of silence.  He lived in absolute seclusion for fifty years.   ‘United to all and separated from all’.   St Barsanuphius devoted himself entirely to prayer and he attained a high degree of spiritual perfection.

After spending a long time in seclusion, Saint Barsanuphius, thereafter and until the death of Saint John the Prophet, began to serve others by instructing them on the path to salvation, as St Dorotheus testifies.   Saint Barsanuphius replied to those seeking his spiritual direction through Saint John, sometimes instructing him to give the answers.

It is these letters, of varying length, that constitute the “Correspondence” of Barsanuphius, published with that of St John the Prophet in a Collection  . The more than 800 documents preserved, contain, in addition to their spiritual interest, a wealth of information on the situation of the Palestine Church in the sixth century and on the relations of Abbot Seridos’ monastery with the outside world.

The precepts of Saints Barsanuphius and John clearly show the degree of their moral perfection and their love for people but contain scant facts about their lives.   Saint Barsanuphius survived his disciple and friend but after St John’s death, embraced complete silence and refused to give answers to anyone.   We do not know exactly when Saint Barsanuphius died, some sources say around 563.

His relics arrived in Oria, in Italy, with a Palestinian monk in 850 and were placed in the present-day church of San Francesco da Paola by Bishop Theodosius.   During a Moorish siege and taking of the city, the relics were lost but then later rediscovered and placed in the city’s Cathedral Basilica where his feast is celebrated with great devotion, on 20 February each year.   The Statue above is in the Basilica and the one at the end is also somewhere in Oria – see the note from the local news there:    “Oria:  everything is ready for the Feast of the Patron Saint San Barsanofio – At the end of the Mass, after the ritual of the symbolic handover of the keys by the Mayor of Oria to the Statue of San Barsanofio, … a procession will proceed through the City with a stop at the Church of San Francesco di Paola and the crypt of San Barsanofio…ST BARSANUPHIUS

At Oria he is considered to have saved the city from destruction wrought by foreign invaders.   A legend states that he repelled a Spanish invasion by appearing before the Spanish commander armed with a sword. During World War II, he is said to have spread his blue cape across the sky, thus causing a rainstorm and preventing an air bombing by Allied Forces.

From the tenth century onwards, his cult is attested to in Constantinople, where his memory is celebrated in August.San_Barsanofio_in_Oria


Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night +2020 and Memorials of the Saints – 11 April

Holy Saturday – Sabbatum Sanctum – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night +2020

On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on His suffering and death.

The altar is left bare and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated.

Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the Resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.

St Stanislaus (1030-1079) Bishop and Martyr (Memorial)
St Stanislaus life:

St Agericus of Tours
St Aid of Achard-Finglas
Bl Angelo Carletti di Chivasso
St Antipas of Pergamon
St Barsanuphius the Hermit (Died c 563)
St Domnio of Salona
Bl Elena Guerra
St Eustorgius of Nicomedia
St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903)
St Gemma:

Bl George Gervase
St Godeberta of Noyon
St Guthlac of Crowland (674–715)
St Hildebrand of Saint-Gilles
St Isaac of Monteluco
Bl James of Africa
Bl John of Cupramontana
Bl Lanunio
St Machai
St Maedhog of Clonmore
Bl Mechthild of Lappion
Bl Paul of Africa
St Philip of Gortyna
St Raynerius Inclusus
St Sancha of Portugal
St Stephen of Saint-Gilles
Bl Symforian Ducki