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.
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.
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.
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 Liturgy