Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

On this day, while we wait at the tomb of Jesus, with hope mixed with sadness, the world is silent. The Office of Readings has a beautiful second reading for Holy Saturday, which I posted some years back. We wait, the body of Jesus rests, but his soul is going to free the souls of the just from the grip of death. Even those who lived before Christ couldn't enter Paradise until Jesus opened the way, so while his body lies in the tomb, his soul goes to seek them out and offer them the same salvation he offers you and me on Easter Sunday. This "Harrowing of Hell" has been depicted beautifully in art throughout the ages. With reference to Christ's descent into hell/the dead, the terms "hell" and "the realm of the dead" are often used interchangeably.

He is often shown rescuing Adam and Eve first:
Binding the demons that have held man captive, and freeing the souls of the just from the "jaws of hell":
Here he is quite literally breaking down the doors of hell to rescue the just, again, with Adam and Eve first:

"Death, you shall die in me; hell, you shall be destroyed by me."
-First Antiphon from Holy Saturday Vespers

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