For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back…
Day Forty of Lent: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil – Isaiah 54
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back” -Isaiah 54:7.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Such an ominous, mournful kind of day despite what we know is right around the corner. For now, the emptiness, loneliness, and waiting pervades the soul. The altar is bare; the tabernacle empty. We live in a state of void on this day, feeling a bit like the apostles must have, most of whom were hiding in fear and feeling very much alone, fearful and discouraged.
This feeling of void and emptiness can often cause our souls to enter into a period of self-reflection. We may feel a sense of real sadness for what our precious Lord has just endured at the hands of our own sin; disappointment may creep in as we ponder if we’ve done enough over this forty-day journey through a spiritual desert. Whatever the feelings and thoughts may be, the soul is left feeling barren.
It is difficult to shake the Good Friday frame-of-mind on Holy Saturday. Our Spirit surely knows that a new dawn is about to take place, but we cannot seem to move into that space quite yet. And we shouldn’t; not yet anyway. We should take this time of quiet to examine our conscience and our lives; taking stock about what we can do to enter into an even deeper spiritual life in the year to come. This is indeed a most solemn time to take and bask in holy silence. But do allow yourself to also wait in expectancy – an expectancy that marks Holy Saturday. While you live in this space “between” today, embracing its emptiness, find your inner peace in these solemn hours of searching and waiting.
As you stand on the cusp of a new dawn, a new hope and new life, reflect on your journey over the past forty days. Is there anything that you have been clinging to that is no longer serving you? Is there a certain person, thing or habit that is preventing you from growing in holiness? What do you want to do differently? Reflect on these questions and then, for right now, empty yourself of whatever it is. In this solemn emptiness, as you enter into the quiet of your own spirit, wait patiently for the joy of Easter that is about to rush in. This heavenly joy is about to fill every void in your life. Divine grace is about to be enacted, and with it a new way – a divine way – will be opened up before you.
Spirit of God, let Your light pierce the darkness of our lives. We rest in You today, waiting patiently for the resurrection that we know – we can feel – is coming. Take the burdens we bear and transform them as Jesus transformed the Cross into salvation. Let tonight be the first stirring of our new lives to walk (and remain walking) in the holy will of Christ. It is in Your good and holy Name we pray, amen.
Spend thirty minutes in total silence.
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything” -St. Teresa of Avila.
“How sweet the presence of Jesus for the longing, harassed soul! It is instant peace, and balm to every wound” -St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
“You must accept your cross; if you bear it courageously, it will carry you to Heaven” -St. John Vianney.
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