What is Holy Saturday all about?

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Have you ever asked yourself what Holy Saturday is all about? We know the gift of Good Friday – that Jesus suffered and died for us so that we can experience forgiveness now and joy with Him in Heaven. And we understand the gift of Easter – that Jesus rose from the dead, and so doing, conquered death’s hold over us so that we might rise again, too.

So what is the gift of Holy Saturday?

Imagine what the disciples must have felt like on Saturday. Surely on Friday they were numb and couldn’t believe what had happened. But Saturday came and they had to admit Jesus had died. All their hopes for a better life must have died with him. Jesus—who was so charismatic, so good, so filled with potential, who was going to lead them into a new kingdom—had agonized and then breathed his last on the cross.

Think of the women who followed him and hadn’t been able to embalm his body on Friday. Now on Saturday they were not allowed to do so because of the Sabbath. So they were left with no way to show him their devotion, no opportunity to pay tribute to his body. No work to distract themselves from their loss.


I’ve been there, haven’t you? When all your hopes have been destroyed and you realize your dreams will not be realized. Perhaps when someone you love dies? It takes time to process your loss. Your mind doesn’t want to accept the pain and pushes it away in denial. We want to blame someone and often God takes the brunt of our anger. We are where Lazarus’ sister was when she said, “Lord, if you had been here our brother wouldn’t have died!” We are where Jesus was when he said, “Father, why have you abandoned me?”

But at some point in this Saturday experience, you realize a phase of your life is over and you must bear the loss and go on.

I think the gift of Holy Saturday is that even when we are at our lowest, and everything seems hopeless, and even when we can’t feel God is near, he is. When we are in that dark pit, alone and desolate and frightened, he is there. When we are “going through Hell,” we can know the Son of God has been there, too. There is nowhere we can go where he hasn’t been.

Jesus taught us how to make it through the Holy Saturday loss when, though he felt abandoned, he said, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” He showed us God still exists, even when we can’t feel him, and we can trust and place ourselves in his hands.

Yes, he could have risen on Saturday morning. Yes, he could give us everything we want right when we want it. But then we wouldn’t be given the gift of being able to say, “God, I can’t feel you here. I can’t understand what has happened. I’d give anything to change it and I don’t know why you allowed it. Still, I believe in you. I know, even though it doesn’t seem like it right now, you love me. And I know you are all powerful. So even if I can’t have what I want, I trust you that you know what I need, and you want to shower me with goodness.”

It takes time to get to the point of being able to say this and mean it, all while enduring intense pain. But that’s the gift of Saturday, Time. And because we now know that Jesus did rise and our God isn’t dead, the gift of Saturday is Hope. Because of that Saturday and what happened next we now can trust that a Sunday will come and with it, the resurrection of all that is good.

May all your Saturdays of Despair be followed by Sundays of Life!


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Blessings on your Holy Week! I hope this Lent, and these posts have brought you closer to God in some recognizable way. I hope you’ve grown! I hope I have, too.

Our society certainly needs to grow. Matthew Kelly, in his book Rhythm of Life sees three challenges to growth that endanger our culture:


  • Minimalism is a common mindset that asks, “What’s the least I can do and still get by?”
  • Hedonism tempts us to ask, “If it feels good, why not?”
  • Individualism denies interdependence and demands, “What’s in it for me?”


These blockades to growth slip in to our lives barely noticed. How fast can I speed and not get pulled over? This relationship is too challenging, why should I keep trying? Why should I volunteer? I’m already over extended. Which Mass tends to be the shortest? Yet, these mindsets certainly are not an imitation of Christ, who would never have submitted to the cross if he were trying to get away with the least he could do, or what felt good, or what was best for him personally.


Instead, Matthew Kelly suggests a different route.


  • Rather than minimalism, we are asked to dream big and attempt great goals. We are challenged to become the very best person we can be. We are asked to discover, “What do I want from life? He suggests we reconnect with our childhood dreams. Rediscover the quiet voice within, who speaks so softly that we must escape the noise of the world to hear. What gifts and passions make us come alive? Who could benefit from what we want to be able to do? We need to take our Sabbath day to rest and slow down so that our harried hurry doesn’t convince us we can only do the minimum. What is the most we can do?”


  • Rather than hedonism, we are asked to choose self-discipline, and so doing discover the freedom to do what is right. By discipline we build character, integrity, and strength. We become leaders, rather than pleasure seekers. We can accomplish the goals we discovered when we asked, “What would make my life meaningful?” Instead of accumulation, we desperately need simplicity. For balance we need to grow in all four areas, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual, even if it doesn’t feel good right now.


  • Rather than individualism, we are called to discover the meaning of life by helping others. That assistance will bring a joy and connection which satisfies the loneliness that independence can’t fill. We want and need intimacy in our lives. Relationships challenge and call us to growth.


In my reading, I came across Matthew Kelly’s dreams for us all. As I read them, I thought, Yes! This is what I hope for my children! These are the dreams I want to see them reach. Then I realized, if I want this for them, I must pursue these passionately. I need to be an example to them, no matter how flawed.

Matthew Kelly’s Seven Dreams:

  1. I have a dream for you… that you have complete control over your mental and physical faculties and that you are slave neither to food, nor drink, nor any other substance. I dream that you will be free, that you will have freedom in the truest sense of the wordthe strength of character to do what is right in each situation.
  2. I have a dream for you… that you are able to discern the people, activities, and possessions that are most important to you. And that you are able to give each of them their time and place according to the appropriate priority,
  3. I have a dream for you… that you have the courage, determination, firmness, and persistence to perform the tasks that you choose, decide, and resolve to perform. That you perform them with a commitment to excellence and attention to detail.
  4. I have a dream for you… that you discover a unique talent that leads you to dedicate the professional aspect of your life to some work you can be passionate about. I dream that you may enjoy the rare privilege of spending your days in meaningful work. That you serve your neighbor, your family, and your community in this occupation and that by it, you are able to provide for your temporal needs.
  5. I have a dream for you…that you grow in wealth in every sense of the word, that you are never in need, and that whatever your wealth is, you share it with all you can.
  6. I have a dream for you… that you find true love. Someone you can cherish. Someone who makes you want to be a better person. A soul-mate who can challenge you and love you. A companion who can walk with you, know you, share your joy, perceive your pain and heartache, and comfort you in your disappointments.
  7. I have a dream for you… that you discover a deep and abiding interior peace. The peace that comes from knowing that who you are, where you are, and what you do is essentially good and makes sense; that you are contributing to the happiness of others; and that you are progressing toward becoming the best-version-of-yourself.



You can learn more about Matthew Kelly at www.DynamicCatholic.com


Notice God’s Love

Betty blue bordered (2)I want to challenge you to try something. Ask God to show you today how much you are loved. Then—here’s the challenge—pay attention and notice when He does, because He will, but you might not expect the method He chooses.

Rev. Michael Harvey spoke recently about a study that showed people in other countries are more open to spiritual experiences than we are in the States. We tend to lead our lives in such a hurried, busy state that we are too distracted to notice that small miracles surround us. We are spiritual as well as physical beings. So, why is it so hard for us to believe we are surrounded by a spiritual as well as physical world? We need to practice being aware of how God touches our lives.

Sometimes God shows us his love through nature:

  • In the vastness of the ocean, or stars, or a mountain range.
  • Or perhaps in the craft of a frost-covered spider web, or the contrast of red berries next to the white bark of a birch tree.
  • Maybe you’ll be entertained by the play of a puppy, the speed of a horse, or the call of a bird you haven’t heard before.
  • Maybe your heart dances when the first daffodil or crocus opens, or daphne causes you to inhale deeply.

God can speak to your heart through other people:

  • Someone’s words may strike home and seem like a personal message for your life.
  • A friend calls or stops by to visit.
  • An unexpected kindness makes your smile reach your eyes.
  • You listen to lyrics and a melody, or see beauty in a painting and are uplifted.
  • You can certainly know God’s affection through the embrace of a loved one.
  • Or sometimes, witnessing another’s misfortune, you realize how blessed you are.

If we are alert, we see the hand of God in coincidences:

  • Uncanny timing brings an old friend across your path, or averts an accident.
  • A deadline you weren’t ready for is suddenly postponed.
  • God was definitely cherishing you the day, the moment, when you met the love of your life.

You may experience God within you:

  • Inspiration comes and a problem is solved.
  • Your prayers bring you to a new awareness of God’s nearness and love.
  • Forgiveness you couldn’t quite attain settles gently into your soul.
  • A pervasive moodiness lifts and you re-experience joy.
  • You reach a goal that had eluded your efforts.
  • You suddenly realize what unrecognized gifts you’ve been given in your abilities, or your family, or your health.

In fact, if you want to grasp the wealth of God’s love for you, list the aspects of your life that make you grateful. Look to the past:

  • Note where God has blessed, rescued, or forgiven you.
  • Remember that even the times you suffered often brought forth growth. Perhaps a relationship ended and you were devastated, but later you fell in love with someone more perfect for you.
  • Go beyond your own past and study history to see God’s hand in it. Appreciate what your ancestors risked in order for you to know freedom and opportunity.

God can speak to you in pain:

  • Ponder the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
  • Many people first find God when they are suffering, at the lowest point in their lives. When they cannot go on, they reach out to Him and experience a peaceful comfort and realize He sustains them.


Let’s open our eyes/hearts/souls to God and all the countless graces He showers on us each day and discover a critical step to growth. Once we know deep down, undeniably, that we are loved, it frees us to a sense of gratitude and an ability to love ourselves and others.

Discover what circumstances prove easiest for you to recognize God’s tender presence. For me, because I love nature, He tends to touch me in the beauty of sunshine, flowers, birds, and wildlife. I feel treasured when a flock of geese flies overhead or I spy a hidden deer. I also feel God-cherished through my family. When my husband smiles at me, or I hold a tiny baby, I connect with that spiritual world.


If you are like me, you may start out your day with the best intention to notice God’s love notes. Then the business of the day wears on and suddenly it’s bedtime and you haven’t thought about it again. That’s ok. You can mull over your day with a sense of gratitude as you fall asleep. And then you can begin again tomorrow because God will show you His love any day you choose to recognize it.

If we believe that God is love, we touch God whenever we open our hearts. Will you notice Him loving you today? Or will someone else notice because of your loving actions?


May you discover new depths of God’s personal, intimate love for you this week!


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