Day Forty: Hopeful Anticipation

Holy Saturday

Today is a day of silence. For Jesus’ first disciples, it must have been a day of confusion. How could Jesus be gone? Why didn’t He miraculously come down from the Cross? Was He a fraud? A liar? Was He not the Son of God, the Messiah? These and many other questions might have passed through the minds of Jesus’ many followers. He had truly died and lay in an empty tomb.

Our Blessed Mother had other thoughts. She was at peace and filled with joyful anticipation. She had just endured the greatest suffering any mother could endure, and now she knew that she would see her Son again, very shortly. She awaited the joy of the Resurrection and would have begun to experience that joy in superabundance on Holy Saturday.

Throughout Lent we have pondered sin, suffering, and sacrifice. Doing so could lead to depression and disillusionment if we do not know the end of the story. The Cross leads to the Resurrection. For that reason, the sacrifices we made in Lent were not ends in themselves; they were a means to a fuller sharing in the perfect joy of the Resurrection!

Silent and hopeful anticipation must accompany every act of sacrificial love, suffering embraced, sin overcome, and cross carried. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection, we are able to become fruitful for the Kingdom of God each time we unite our actions to His. When we do, we are invited to silently anticipate the good fruit that will be borne.

When we forgive another who has harmed us and shower that person with mercy rather than judgment, we won’t remain bitter or resentful. Instead, we will receive the gift of silent and hopeful anticipation of the difference that our sacrificial act of forgiveness can make in a person’s life. Every sacrifice we make in life that is rooted in divine love will leave us with this beautiful silent, hopeful anticipation as we await the effects that our love will produce.

Ponder this gift today. Though Holy Saturday is not celebrated as a liturgical feast, the message this day conveys is powerful. Every Good Friday act of sacrificial love must be followed by Holy Saturday watchfulness. And when the good fruit of our sacrificial love comes to fruition, the joy of the Resurrection is at hand. Anticipate those resurrections and allow them to produce hope in your soul so that you will never tire of the sacrifices of Lent and the Triduum, leading you over and over again to celebrations of Christ’s victory.

My silent Lord, though Your body was dead in the tomb, Your soul was alive, the gates of Heaven were opened, and You were preparing for Your final victory. Your Blessed Mother knew of this fruitfulness and anticipated it with great hope and joy. Please bestow upon me this precious gift of hopeful anticipation every time I love sacrificially, so that this hope will drive me to love more, in imitation of Your most sacred life. Mother Mary, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

See also: Day Forty: 40 Days at the Foot of the Cross

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