The bleakest of days.
Holy Saturday marks the day after. It is the day that the disciples of Jesus stood in shock, in horror, in guilt, in sadness, in utter desolation. It was a day of mourning, of fear, and of silence-- complete silence, as if the entire world had gone quiet. As if the Lord, Himself, had grown silent.
For the disciples, it was a day of hopelessness. All that they had hoped in, all that they had believed, all that they had expected to come to pass had died on a cross. They were deserted. They didn’t know what would happen next. They were afraid.
And they waited.
But the disciples sat in disbelief and grief. They no longer had anything to hope in. They sat in silence, hearts broken, lives shattered.
Today, we know the truth. We know that the Lord answered their silence with the most profound of words- Resurrection. We know that by tomorrow, the tomb will be empty and Jesus will have risen in glorious triumph over death. And yet, like the first disciples, we remain silent all too often in our lives. We lose hope all too often. We despair all too often. We turn away from the promise of Christ all too often.
Tomorrow, like the disciples of Christ, we will run joyfully to the empty tomb. But today, Holy Saturday, we are called to sit in our pain. We are called to sit in our loneliness, taking final stock of our lives prior to the dawning of Easter. We are called to pause, while the entire world groans in the pain and suffering of uncertainty and loss. We are called to wait, in silence, for the coming of Our Lord.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8: 22-27)
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."