Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Holy Saturday: the Church waits by the tomb!

The Lord's descent into
an ancient Homily on Holy Saturday

strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence
and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The
earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he
has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in
the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first
parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in
darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the
captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord
approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At
the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror
and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And
with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O
sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have
become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own
authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in
darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O
sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise
from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you
who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me
and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a
slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath
the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without
help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was
betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received
in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the
marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my
image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden
of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for
you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword
pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your
side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your
sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned
against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The
enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that
paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was
only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I
appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them
worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift
and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal
dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open.
The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

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