Holy Saturday Reflection


On Holy Saturday we live between the lament and grief of Good Friday and the praise and celebration of Easter Sunday. It is a time of waiting, even of emptiness; expecting something new and different, with confused hope.

Lamenting allows us to name the pain of our loss, and in the experience of true helplessness and emptiness, lament enables us to find words for our confidence in God – the source of our hope.

By letting ourselves dwell on our experiences we begin a journey to the discovery of the insecurity of faith. This is different from a catechism-type faith that gives us answers to set questions. Life is more unpredictable and, at times, deeply hurtful and confusing in our rapidly changing world. While we await what will come, with more awareness than the earliest disciples, in fact, we are continually made uncertain by the events in our ever-changing secular and religious world.

Will I go on as a follower of Jesus?

When we let go of trying to understand or be the guide for our own journey, we discover we have a guiding companion who lights up our darkness and fills our emptiness.  We can’t be held until we let go.

This is the gift of Holy Saturday, and a link to the previous day can help us in this time of empty waiting. Psalm 22 is a prayer of open grief. We know it begins, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It states, “My heart has melted like wax inside me”. The psalm moves on to declare, “you have not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; you have not hidden your face from him but have listened to his cry for help.”

As we wait with uncertain hope and genuine lament for many things that might give us security, let us use this time of emptiness to once again, ‘hand over’ the questions, the doubts and the struggles, and await the new dawn of Easter and it’s message.

When asked to describe the mystery of Easter, author Carl Knudsen responded with the following story. Years ago, an old municipal lamplighter, engaged in putting out the street lamps one by one, was met by a reporter who asked him if he ever grew weary of his work. After all, it was a lonely job, and the night was cold and damp.

“Never am I cheerless,” said the old man, “for there is always a light ahead of me to lead me on.” The news writer asked, “But what do you have to cheer you when you have put out the last light?”

“Then comes the dawn!” said the lamplighter.

Brian Traynor CP  has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.