All posts tagged: Holy Saturday

A Suffering Silence

The other day a friend asked I could go with her for her chemotherapy treatment. I had no idea what a lesson it would be for me in how to bear the Cross. She is in her late seventies, distinguished and “full of wisdom” as the Scriptures say, full of that astonishing capacity to quietly accept deep suffering which I often find in my older friends. When I arrived to her house, she was weak and short of breath so we didn’t say much on the ride over to the clinic. The nurse who welcomed us was kind and patient, explaining every step of the procedure and bringing warm blankets for my friend. At first, I didn’t know if she wanted me to chat with her or not, and she seemed so tired, that finally I realized she just wanted to rest as much as possible. There wasn’t much I could do to make her comfortable, nor much she asked for—it was simply a matter of me being attentive to her and waiting. She didn’t …

Music of Holy Week: Holy Saturday

Recessit Pastor Noster (1585) by Tomás Luis de la Victoria (1548–1611) After the sorrow of the Cross, the Church enters into the silence of Holy Saturday. The Roman Missal states: “On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting, meditating on his Passion and Death and on his Descent into Hell, and awaiting his Resurrection” (Holy Saturday §1). The Roman Missal goes on to state that “the Church abstains from the Sacrifice of the Mass, with the sacred table left bare until after the solemn Vigil, that is the anticipation by night of the Resurrection” (ibid., §2); thus, the Liturgy of the Hours becomes the way in which she keeps vigil for the Resurrection of her Lord.  Today’s piece, written for a Tenebrae service for Holy Saturday, mourns the death of the Good Shepherd who has laid down his life for his sheep. The play between major and minor tonalities throughout this piece serve as a musical commentary on the interplay between darkness and light. The darkness has seemingly triumphed: …