Marian Thought for the Day – 16 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Simon Stock (1165-1265)

Marian Thought for the Day – 16 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Simon Stock (1165-1265)

The brown Scapular of the Carmelite Order has gained considerable popularity and use among those devoted to the Blessed Mother.   The following prayer, addressed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, prays for her continued protection and grace for those who wear the scapular:

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

O all-blessed, immaculate Virgin,
ornament and glory of Mount Carmel,
you who looks, with most gracious countenance,
on those who have been clothed,
with your venerable livery,
look kindly also on me
and take me under the mantle
of your maternal protection.
Strengthen my weakness with your might;
enlighten the darkness of my heart,
with your wisdom;
increase in me,
the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
So adorn my soul with graces
and virtue of our God,
by your prayers,
that it may always be dear
to your divine Son
and to you.
Assist me during life,
comfort me in death
with your most sweet presence
and present me as your child
and faithful servant,
to the most Holy Trinity,
that I may be enabled to praise
and extol you in heaven forever.
Amenprayer to our lady of mount carmel of the brown scapular - 16 may 2018 st simon stock

In 1322, Pope John XXII issued a document known as a Papal Bull in which he included a promise from Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In his document, the Pope revealed that he had received an apparition of Our Blessed Mother, during which she made a promise to all mankind.

Her “Sabbatine Privilege” was as follows:

“on the First Saturday after the death of one of the faithful, Our Blessed Mother would free from Purgatory her Scapular children who have fulfilled certain conditions.   She stated to Pope John XXII:  “I, the Mother of Graces, shall descend on the Saturday after their death, and as many as I find in Purgatory I shall free.”

The Church has since formalised the Sabbatine Privilege, based on this revelation. Containing three conditions, those who follow and practice true devotion, will be released from Purgatory by Our Lady’s intercession on the Saturday after their death.   As set forth by the Church, the three conditions include:

1)Wear the brown scapular devoutly, once you’ve been enrolled in the Scapular Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel;

2) Observe chastity according to your state in life;

3) Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Given the length of this beautiful prayer, with permission of a priest you can substitute five decades of the rosary, abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays or another approved good work).

His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, wrote concerning the Sabbatine Privilege, “Certainly, this most gentle Mother will not delay to open as soon as possible, through Her intercession with God, the gates of Heaven for children expiating their faults in Purgatory.”

Once one has been enrolled in the Scapular Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, one shares in the daily prayers and other spiritual benefits of the Carmelite Order. Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s scapular promise of salvation to Saint Simon Stock and the Carmelites applies to the enrollee as well!

The short form of the investiture is as follows:

Receive this Scapular, a sign of your special relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom you pledge to imitate. May it be a reminder to you of your dignity as a Christian, in serving others and imitating Mary.
Wear it as a sign of her protection and of belonging to the Family of Carmel, voluntarily doing the will of God and devoting yourself to building a world true to His plan of community, justice and peace.


Many popes and other religious figures over the centuries have extolled the virtues of the brown scapular devotion.   Pope Pius XII went so far as to say: “The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.”   More recently, Pope Paul VI said: “Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin … the Rosary and the Scapular of Carmel.”   Still, they caution that, although our Lady of Mount Carmel promised that the scapular would protect us from eternal fire, wearing it in itself doesn’t guarantee our salvation.

The scapular is not to be worn as a substitute for leading a devout life of love and obedience to our Lord.   The Most Reveren. Kilian Lynch, former prior general of the Carmelite Order, warned that the scapular was not “endowed with some kind of supernatural power which will save us no matter what we do or how much we sin.” He said, “Fidelity to the commandments is required by those seeking ‘the special love and protection of Our Lady.”

The immeasurable benefits of the Scapular result from the fact that the wearing of “the armour of Mary” is not merely an external act of devotion– it is a sign of our internal consecration to the Immaculate Virgin.   The scapular recommends us to her endless grace and generosity.   At Fatima in 1917, the Mother of God encouraged all people to consecrate themselves to Her Immaculate Heart.   And in the final Fatima vision on 13 October, the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, wearing the robes of the Carmelite Order, holding aloft the Brown Scapular.   On that occasion, Our Blessed Mother reminded us that the devoted living of the Brown Scapular consecration, paired with daily prayer of the Holy Rosary, is a necessary part of the amendment of life– the random of a sinful world– for which she so earnestly pleaded.

Pope Pius XII stressed this important truth: “May the Scapular be a sign to them (all who wear it) of their consecration to the Most Pure Heart of the Immaculate Virgin.”   In wearing the brown scapular devoutly, in living in love and obedience to God, we join our hearts to Mary’s and thus, to her divine Son’s Sacred Heart as well!

You called St Simon Stock to serve You in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers, help us like him, to live in Your presence and to work for man’s salvation.   Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.   Amen

Holy Mother of Carmel, Pray for us

St Simon Stock, Pray for us


Saint of the Day – 16 May – St Simon Stock (1165-1265)

Saint of the Day – 16 May – St Simon Stock (1165-1265) Religious Monk, Visionary, Mystic, Marian devotee, early prior general of the Carmelite religious order.   Born c 1165 in Aylesford, County Kent, England – died on 16 May 1265 in the Carmelite monastery at Bordeaux, France of natural causes while on a visit.    Patronage – Bordeaux, France.

HEADER 2 marian-scapular-vision-small1header - Nicolas_Mignard-Vierge_et_saint_Simon_Stock

Simon was born in Aylesford, England, to one of the most well-known and respected Christian families in the County of Kent.   While still an infant, he was chosen by the Blessed Mother for her own, with his parents and others hearing him recite the Angelic Salutation of the Archangel Gabriel, long before he had learned to speak.   Prodigious as a child, he learned and memorised the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin before he was able to read, reciting it on a daily basis.   He was observed to read the Holy Scripture, kneeling in his room, by the age of six.

At the age of twelve, Simon left home, living as a hermit in the hollowed trunk of a large oak tree, earning him the name Simon “Stock.”   There he triumphed over the demon, as he would later tell his religious, only by the assistance of the Most Holy Virgin.   While living as a hermit, he drank only water and ate only herbs, roots and wild apples. Eventually, after eight years of solitude, Simon felt called back to communion with others and joined the Carmelite Order.   He finished his studies at Oxford and later (in 1215) was appointed Vicar General of the Order.

Saint Simon worked tirelessly to spread the Carmelite Order throughout Europe, founding many communities in university towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris and Bologna.   He was responsible for the revision of the Rules of the Order, leading the community from lives as hermits to those of mendicant friars.   Known for his deep devotion to Our Blessed mother, as well as for the spiritual gifts of miracles and prophecy, Simon was elected as the sixth Superior General of the Carmelites at age 82.   He continued to govern the order for twenty years, demonstrating holiness, vision and prudence.

During his tenure as Superior General, Simon was graced with a visitation from the Blessed Mother, to whom he was so devoted.   Radiantly surrounded by a multitude of Angels, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to him as he knelt in prayer at Aylesford, England.   Presenting to him the Carmelite Brown Scapular, she made Her Promise of unparalleled generosity to him, his spiritual children and to all those who wished to consecrate themselves to her by this special sign: Her words were:

“Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order.   It is the special sign of my favour, which I have obtained for you and for your children of Mount Carmel.   He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire.   It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger and a pledge of special peace and protection.”

The scapular (from the Latin, scapular, meaning “shoulder blade”) consists of two pieces of cloth, one worn on the chest and the other on the back, which were connected by straps or strings passing over the shoulders.   In certain Orders, monks and nuns wear scapulars that reach from the shoulders almost to the ground as outer garments.   Lay persons usually wear scapulars underneath their clothing, consisting of two pieces of material only a few inches square.   Although the scapular may be worn by any Catholic, even an infant, proper investiture must be done by a priest.   Subsequently, the scapular must be worn in the proper manner, the individual forfeiting its holy benefits if neglectful or careless.

Saint Simon Stock died on 16 May 1265, at the age of 100 and was buried in the cathedral of Bordeaux, where he was visiting at the time of his death.   The Saint’s bones are still preserved in a cathedral in Bordeaux;  a tibia was brought to England in the 1860s for the Carmelite church in Kensington, a part of the skull was enshrined at Aylesford in 1950.   St Simon was never formally Canonised but he has been venerated by the Carmelites since at least 1564 and the Vatican has approved the Carmelite celebration of his feast.

Pietro Novelli, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Carmelite Saints (Simon Stock (standing), Angelus of Jerusalem (kneeling), Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, Teresa of Avila), 1641 (Museo Diocesano, Palermo.)


Devotion to the Brown Scapular remains widespread and recommended by the Catholic Church.   The Carmelites continue to find meaning in the traditional story and iconography of Saint Simon Stock receiving the scapular, particularly as reflecting their filial relationship with Mary.   When St Pope John Paul II addressed the Carmelite family in 2001 on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the bestowal of the Scapular, he said:

“Over time, this rich Marian heritage of Carmel, has become, through the spread of the Holy Scapular devotion, a treasure for the whole Church.   By its simplicity, its anthropological value and its relationship to Mary’s role, in regard to the Church and humanity, this devotion was so deeply and widely accepted, by the People of God, that it came to be expressed, in the memorial of 16 July on the liturgical calendar, of the universal Church, “the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”

Posted in DEVOTIO, DOCTORS of the Church, EASTER, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SPEAKING of ....., The HOLY EUCHARIST, Uncategorized

Quote/s of the Day – 20 April – Friday of the Third Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel: John 6:52-59

Quote/s of the Day – 20 April – Friday of the Third Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel: John 6:52-59

“Speaking of: The Holy Eucharist”

“You can call happy those who saw Him.
But, come to the altar and
you will see Him,
you will touch Him,
you will give to Him holy kisses,
you will wash Him with your tears,
you will carry Him within you
like Mary Most Holy.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Doctor of the Churchyou can call happy - st john chrysostom - 20 april 2018

“The Blessed Eucharist is the perfect Sacrament
of the Lord’s Passion, since
It contains Christ Himself and his Passion.”

St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Angelic Doctorthe blessed eucharist - st thomas aquinas - 20 april 2018

“The last degree of love
is when He gave Himself to us
to be our Food;
because He gave Himself to be
united with us in every way.” 

St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)the last degree of love - st bernardine of siena - 20 april 2018

“Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament
is the greatest after the sacraments,
the one dearest to God
and the one most helpful to us.”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctorof all devotions that of adoring Jesus in the blessed sacrament - st alphonsus liguori - 20 april 2018

“Upon receiving Holy Communion,
the Adorable Blood of Jesus Christ
really flows in our veins and His Flesh
is really blended with ours.”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)upon receiving holy comm - st john vianney - 20 april 2018 - fri 3rd week easter

“I urge you with all the strength of my soul
to approach the Eucharistic Table
as often as possible.
Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which
you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles.”

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925)i urge you 2 - bl pier


Thought for the Day – Tuesday of the Third Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel: John 6:30–35 & the Memorial of Bl Andrés Hibernón Real O.F.M. (1534-1602) ‘Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration’

Thought for the Day – – Tuesday of the Third Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel:  John 6:30–35 & the Memorial of Bl Andrés Hibernón Real O.F.M. (1534-1602) ) ‘Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration’

Meditation on the Blessed Sacrament by St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)  – Most Zealous Doctor

Meditation, wherever it is made,
pleases God.
But it seems that Jesus,
especially delights in prayer,
made before the Blessed Sacrament.
Did he not leave Himself for us
in this sacrament to be food for our spirit
and to be present for all who seek Him?

We cannot all make pilgrimages
to the places where Jesus lived
but the Lord who died for us
on the cross of Calvary
now dwells in person,
in the tabernacle – waiting.

We need not await a command
as we would of an earthly king,
to enter His presence –
He is waiting for us
to lay before Him our wants
and to seek His help.
So that we may taste
the sweetness of His presence,
it is good to empty ourselves
of earthly desires.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46: 10

What pleasure is found in spending
a long time before the altar
where the Lord dwells!

What heavenly sweetness the Lord
allows us to taste and enjoy!

What should we do in the presence
of the Lord in the Eucharist?

We should stay there, not to enjoy
sweetness and consolation
but to give pleasure to God
by making acts of love, saying

O my God, I love

and desire nothing but You.

Grant that I may always love You;

then do with me and all I possess,

as You please.

These acts of love,
even when made without sensible delight,
please god greatly.
For good people often have to bear
with distractions and dryness in prayer.

As for distractions,
of these we must not make much account.
It is enough to drive them away
when they come.
Do not on this account leave off prayer.

Saint Francis de Sales said:

“If, in meditation, we do nothing
but drive away distractions,
our meditation would be of great profit.”

And as for dryness:
this is the greatest pain
for those given to prayer,
for we find ourselves without
any sensible desire of loving God.
Added to this, at times, is the fear
of being separated from God
because of our sins.
There is the feeling
of being in utter darkness
without any way of escape.
At such times let us unite our desolation
with that which Jesus suffered on the cross.

If we can say nothing else,
it is enough to say,
at least by an act of the will:

My God, I desire to love You.
Have pity on me;
Leave me not.

PRAYER of one in deep affliction.

My God, I love You tenderly
though I feel You far away.
I will seek You ceaselessly
lest from You I stray.
AMENmeditation on the blessed sacrament - st alphonsus liguori - 17 april 2018



One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday and the Memorial of Bl Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893)

One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday and the Memorial of Bl Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893)

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.   My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord…. One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” …Psalm 84[83]: 2, 11

REFLECTION – “Blessed Augusto Czartoryski wrote these words of the Psalm, his motto of life, on the holy card of his first Mass.   In them is contained the rapture of a man who, following the voice of the call, discovers the beauty of the ministerial priesthood.   In them resounds the echo of the different choices that the person who is discerning God’s will and wishes to fulfil it must make.   Augustus Czartoryski, a young prince, carefully prepared an effective method to discern the divine plan.   In prayer, he presented to God all questions and deep perplexities and then in the spirit of obedience he followed the counsel given by his spiritual guides.   In this way he came to understand his vocation and to take up the life of poverty to serve the “least”.   The same method enabled him throughout the course of his life to make decisions, so that today we can say that he accomplished the designs of Divine Providence in a heroic way.   I would like to leave this example of holiness especially to young people, who today search out the way to decipher God’s will relating to their own lives and desire to faithfully forge ahead each day according to the divine word.   My dear young friends, learn from Blessed Augustus to ask ardently in prayer for the light of the Holy Spirit and wise guides, so that you may understand the divine plan in your lives and are able to walk constantly on the path of holiness.”…St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of Blessed Augustus on Sunday, 25 April 2004

bl augustus czartoryski wrote these words - st john paul - 8 april 2018

PRAYER – Heavenly God and Father and Your divine Son, dear Jesus in whom we trust, send Your Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, to lead us into the ways of holiness.   Grant, we pray, that by the intercession of Blessed Augustus, we may fulfil Your Holy Will by the light of the Holy Spirit.   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, augustus czartoryski - pray for us - 8 april 2018


Our Morning Offering – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday

Our Morning Offering – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday

Most Merciful Jesus,
whose very nature it is
to have compassion on us
and to forgive us,
do not look upon our sins
but upon our trust which we place
in Your infinite goodness.
Receive us all into the abode
of Your Most Compassionate Heart
and never let us escape from It.
We beg this of You by Your love
which unites You to the Father
and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze
upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners,
all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
show us Your mercy,
that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy
forever and ever.
Amen.div mercy prayer - day one from the novena - 8 april 2018 for div mercy sunday


Our Morning Offering – 2 April – Easter Monday

Our Morning Offering – 2 April – Easter Monday

The beautiful ancient Easter sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes can be said or sung before the Gospel every day during the Octave:

Victimae Paschali Laudes

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of Life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;

Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
To Galilee He goes before you.”

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia!++eater monday 2 april 2018 - Victimae Paschali Laudes - easter sequence


The Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions April 2018

The Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions
April 2018

For Those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters

That economists may have the courage
to reject, any economy of exclusion
and know how to open new paths.HOLY FATHER'S PRAYER INTENTIONS APRIL 2018


Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

” Jesus reaches the heights of the depth of his prayer to the Father during His Passion and Death, when He pronounces His supreme “yes” to the plan of God and reveals how the human will finds its fulfilment precisely in adhering fully to the divine will, rather than the opposite.   In Jesus’ prayer, in His cry to the Father on the Cross, “all the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up … Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them beyond all hope, answers them by raising His Son.   Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation”  (CCC 2606)

Pope Benedict 7 March 2012

all the troubles for all time ccc 2606 - used on easter sat 31 march 2018 - quoted by pope benedict in the seventh word

The Seventh Word

“Into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46)

Gospel:  It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” and when he had said this, he breathed his last…Luke 23:44-46

The Word Incarnate utters His last sentence and in doing so, every last word takes on a special significance. In the act of dying, the God-Man teaches His brothers and sisters in the human family how to die.   What is the final lesson?

Jesus died resigned to the Will of the One Who sent Him.  However, we should not see this as passivity;  it is an active resignation, which sums up His entire life:  “As a man lives so shall He die.”

As we listen to the dying Saviour, two words draw our attention:  “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” “Father” and “thy” are the keys to the mystery of death.   Jesus, in His humanity, does not rely on His own resources but casts His cares upon His heavenly Father, the Abba (“Papa”) in Whom He encouraged His disciples to have complete trust.

His heart is thus other-directed or, better, Other-directed toward the One “who was able to save Him from death” (Heb 5:7).   With eyes fixed on Jesus (cf. Heb 3:1), then, Christians ponder what they need in death.   They are three: the grace of perseverance, the grace of final repentance and the grace of a happy death.

Such a gift then leads to that most blessed thing of all – the grace of a happy death. Several years ago I received an early morning call to the hospital to bring Viaticum for a cancer patient I had attended the entire summer.   Always thoughtful to a fault, she had restrained her family from contacting a priest during the night, lest he lose sleep.   Upon my arrival, the woman stirred herself to prepare for her final encounter with the Eucharist.   As I placed the Sacred Host on her tongue, she smiled, swallowed and died. Her son looked at me and said, “Father, that’s all she was waiting for all night.”

What a holy death! What a calming effect it had on her entire family!   What a powerful and unforgettable witness she had offered!   A holy death ensures a happy death because our eyes are “fixed on Jesus.”

Thinking about death – our own death – should not be an exercise in morbidity but a truly positive opportunity. St Alphonsus Liguori, author of the classic “Way of the Cross,” provides ample food for thought in his reflection for the Fifth Station  . It has within it all the serenity of Jesus’ serenity in His final moments and thus recommends itself to our thoughts and as a guide for our actions – perennially.

And so we are encouraged to say and to mean: “My beloved Jesus, I will not refuse the cross, as the Cyrenian did;  I accept it, I embrace it.   I accept in particular the death You have destined for me; with all the pains that may accompany it;  I unite it to your death, I offer it to You.   You have died for love of me; I  will die for love of You, and to please You.   Help me by your grace. I love You, Jesus, my love;  I repent of ever having offended You.   Never permit me to offend You again.   Grant that I may love You always and then do with me what you will.”  (St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church) ...Excerpt from Fr Peter Stravinskas

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

Lord, Your Cross is high and uplifted;
I cannot mount it in my own strength.
You have promised:
“I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all to Myself.”
Draw me, then, from my sins to repentance,
from darkness to faith,
from the flesh to the spirit,
from coldness to ardent devotion,
from weak beginnings to a perfect end,
from smooth and easy paths,
if it be Your will, to a higher and holier way,
from fear to love,
from earth to heaven,
from myself to You.
And as You have said:
“No man can come to Me,
except the Father, who sent Me, draw him,”
give unto me the Spirit Whom the Father hath sent in Your Name,
that in Him and through Him,
I being wholly changed,
may hasten to You
and go out no more for ever.
(From a Prayer a Day for Lent – 1923)THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE SEVENTH WORD - HOLY SAT - 31 MARCH 2018



Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday: “Watching” and The Easter Vigil of the Holy Night

Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday:  “Watching” and The Easter Vigil of the Holy Night

On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on His suffering and death.   The altar is left bare and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated.   Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.The Entombment by the Maitre du Chaorce. “HOLY SAT 2

Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) is sacred as the day of the Lord’s rest; it has been called the “Second Sabbath” after creation.   The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function.   Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns.   After the great battle He is resting in peace but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering…The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible…Jesus’ enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander.


Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart.   When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed.

According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary:  she is the “credentium collectio universa” (Congregation for Divine Worship, Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73).   Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord’s tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of His resurrection.

The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church:  while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and His soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to His ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

“This same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord . . . throughout every generation” (cf. Ex 12:42)lumen christi - 31 march 2018

On this holy night we celebrate the Easter Vigil, the first — indeed the “mother” — of all vigils of the liturgical year.   On this night, as is sung over and over again in the Preconio, we walk once more the path of humanity from creation to the culminating event of salvation, the death and resurrection of Christ.

The light of Him who “has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20) makes this memorable night, which is rightly considered the “heart” of the liturgical year, “bright as the day” (Ps 139:12).   On this night the entire Church keeps watch and recalls, in meditation, the significant stages of God’s saving intervention in the universe.

“A night of watching kept to the Lord”.   There is a twofold significance to this solemn Easter Vigil, so rich with symbols accompanied by an extraordinary abundance of biblical texts.   On the one hand, it is the prayerful memory of the mirabilia Dei, in the re-presentation of key texts from the Sacred Scriptures, from creation to the sacrifice of Isaac, to the passage through the Red Sea, to the promise of the New Covenant.

On the other hand, this evocative vigil is the trusting expectation of the complete fulfilment of the ancient promises.   The memory of God’s work reaches its climax in the resurrection of Christ and is projected onto the eschatological event of the parusia.   We thus catch a glimpse, on this night of Passover, of the dawning of that day that never ends, the day of the Risen Christ, which inaugurates the new life, the “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Pet 3:13; cf. Is 65:17; 66:22; Rev 21:1).

From its very beginnings, the Christian community placed the celebration of Baptism within the context of the Easter Vigil.   Here too, on this night, some catechumens will be immersed with Jesus into his death to rise with Him to immortal life.   Thus the wonder of the mysterious spiritual rebirth, wrought by the Holy Spirit, is renewed; the rebirth that incorporates the newly baptised into the people of the new and final Covenant, sealed by the death and resurrection of Christ.

Together with those who will shortly receive Baptism, the liturgy invites all of us here present to renew the promises of our own Baptism.   The Lord asks us to renew the expression of our full obedience to Him and of our total dedication to the service of his Gospel.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters! If this mission may sometimes seem difficult, call to mind the words of the Risen Lord:  “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). Certain of His presence, you shall fear no difficulty and no obstacle.   His word will enlighten you;   His Body and His Blood will nourish you and sustain you on your daily journey to eternity.

At the side of each of you there will always be Mary, as she was present among the Apostles, frightened and confused at the time of trial.   And with her faith she will show you, beyond the night of the world, the glorious dawn of the resurrection. Amen

Lumen Christi!

St Pope John Paul II easter vigil in the holy night - 31 march 2018