Saturday of Holy Week (Holy Saturday)
Prayer for the Morning
Come, all you who pass by the way,/ look and see/
Whether there is any suffering like my suffering.
Glory to the Father…. Amen.
O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss till now was thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call thee mine.
What thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve thy place;
Look on me with thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me thy grace.
Now from thy cheeks has vanished
Their color once so fair;
From thy red lips is banished
The splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor,
Hath robbed thee of thy life;
Thus thou hast lost thy vigor,
Thy strength in this sad strife.
He descended into hell. (Apostles’ Creed)
God does not redeem from afar. The Word descended into our humanity; the Lord descended into the depths of our suffering; Christ descended into the very realm of death itself in order to set free its captives.
Lord my God, I call for help by day;
I cry at night before you.
Let my prayer come into your presence.
O turn your ear to my cry.
For my soul is filled with evils;
my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb:
I have reached the end of my strength,
like one alone among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more,
cut off, as they are, from your hand.
You have laid me in the depths of the tomb,
in places that are dark, in the depths.
Your anger weighs down upon me:
I am drowned beneath your waves.
You have taken away my friends
and made me hateful in their sight.
Imprisoned, I cannot escape;
my eyes are sunken with grief.
I call to you, Lord, all the day long;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work your wonders for the dead?
Will the shades stand and praise you?
Will your love be told in the grave
or your faithfulness among the dead?
Will your wonders be known in the dark
or your justice in the land of oblivion?
As for me, Lord, I call to you for help:
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why do you reject me?
Why do you hide your face?
Wretched, close to death from my youth,
I have borne your trials; I am numb.
Your fury has swept down upon me;
your terrors have utterly destroyed me.
They surround me all the day like a flood,
they assail me all together.
Friend and neighbor you have taken away:
my one companion is darkness.
Glory to the Father….
Word of God (Job 33:21-22)
His flesh is wasted so that it cannot be seen,/ and his bones, once invisible, appear;/ His soul draws near to the pit,/ his life to the place of the dead.
Christ became obedient for us
even unto death, death on a cross.
(Traditional Responsory for Holy Saturday)
Canticle of Zechariah
The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. (Eph 4:10)
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet
of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father…
Let us contemplate with reverence the body of Christ, taken down from the cross and buried in the tomb:
R/Lamb of God, sacrificed for our sins, we adore you.
Christ our Savior, like the grain of wheat fallen into the ground, you have known the reality of the grave:
– accompany us into the mystery of death. R/
Christ, buried in the tomb, your Mother kept watch in faith:
– grant us a share in her hope. R/
Christ, New Adam, you descended into hell to deliver the just:
– bring to life those whom the Father has given you. R/
Christ, living for ever, we have been plunged with you into water and fire:
– raise us from death to life. R/
Ever-living and all-powerful God, your Only Begotten Son descended into the depths of the earth, from which he arose again in glory. Grant to your faithful, buried with him in baptism, to share in his Resurrection to eternal life, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting, meditating on his Passion and Death and on his Descent into Hell, and awaiting his Resurrection.
The Church abstains from the Sacrifice of the Mass, with the sacred table left bare, until after the solemn Vigil, that is, the anticipation by night of the Resurrection, when the time comes for paschal joys, the abundance of which overflows to occupy fifty days.
Holy Communion may only be given on this day as Viaticum.
Holy Saturday is a day of profound mystery: Christ is dead and yet he remains busy at work, descending to the underworld to free the righteous held captive in the chains of death. The mournful suspense of Holy Saturday is thus imbued with the certainty of the Resurrection. Though our earthly sojourn be continually tinged by death, we know that our longing to exult in the fullness of redemption is not in vain. The Son of God himself has passed through death to rob it of its apparent finality. In Jesus, life wins.