Today is “Holy Saturday.”
Today’s reflection is Jesus’ time in “Hell.”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
One evening an old Sioux told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego….
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Sioux simply replied, “The one you feed.”
There is no Mass today in the Catholic Church. This is the only day in the year that the priest does not celebrate the Eucharist, or we have gospel readings. On Holy Saturday, the Catholic Church meditates and reflects on Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. We are keeping watch at the tomb, anxiously awaiting His resurrection on that third day.
In our “Creed” that is said at every mass, it states in part, “descended to the dead” (older versions say “descended to hell”). This is where Jesus is present at this time; abandoned from us for a short period. We could look on this as a sad experience for us Christians: Jesus not being with us; but I don’t.
Prior to Jesus, all who died did not go to heaven; but to a state of “dead,” or to hell. My understanding is that In the Old Testament; “Sheol” is the usual destination of the righteous and the unrighteous. The New Testament (written in Greek) also used “Hades” to refer to the place of the dead. Those in “Sheol” waited for the resurrection of Jesus; either in the comfort of “Abraham bosom,” or in torment.
Jesus descends to this place that I will call the “Abyss.” He is there to fulfill Old Testament Jewish prophesies. Jesus opens heaven up to the righteous, and escorts all worthy souls to His heavenly Father’s home. Souls not worthy remain in the torment of eternal death and separation from our majestic Father in glory.
As Paul wrote in the Letter to the Roman in Romans 6:4:
“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
This slight time of Jesus’ lack of presence is well worth it for us sinners on earth. Not only has Jesus given us the grace of salvation and redemption, but He also showed us the way to heaven, and eternal piece with our heavenly family.
“Jesus, thank you for the gifts you have bestowed on us. Help us to be worthy of them. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Benedict the Moor 1526-1589
The parents of St. Benedict were Negroes from Africa, who had been brought as slaves to San Fratello, a village in Sicily. There they embraced the Christian faith, and lived so exemplary a life in the fulfillment of all their duties that their master granted Benedict, their eldest son, his freedom. From his youth, Benedict was especially God-fearing. He was austere towards his body, not only through constant labor, but also through various types of voluntary mortification. He served his former master for a wage, and when he had saved enough, be bought a pair of oxen, with which he plowed as a day laborer. Because of his black skin and his lowly origin, he was often mocked and despised by his fellow laborers. He became acquainted with some hermits who followed the rule of St. Francis, their life so attracted him that he sold his small possessions, gave everything to the poor, and also led the life of a hermit in the vicinity of Palermo. Until he was 40 years old he served God in this manner in the practice of every virtue and austerity. Then an order was issued by Pope Pius IV that all hermits following the rule of St. Francis should betake themselves to one of the convents of the order. Immediately Benedict went to the convent of the Friars Minor at Palermo, and there continued to perform his former pious exercises in addition to the heavy work which he gladly took upon himself. After the example of our holy Father St. Francis, he observed the forty days’ fast 7 times a year, he slept only a few hours on the bare floor, and wore a very course habit. Poverty and chastity he loved and guarded most scrupulously.
Because he was a model for all the brethren of the convent, he was appointed their superior, even though he was only a lay brother without any schooling. His holy example, his humble charity and self-abnegation had the effect that not only did no one despise him in his office, but rather was he venerated by all, and the inmates of the convent advanced in all virtue during his administration. At the expiration of his term of office, he went back to his duties in the kitchen with greater joy than he had previously entered upon his duties as superior.
In his 63rd year he was attacked by severe illness, which he recognized as his last. With profound devotion he received the last rites of the Church, and departed this life on April 4, 1589, at the hour he had foretold. Several years later his body was found still incorrupt, and emitting a pleasant odor. Veneration for him soon spread from Palermo through Italy, to Spain and Portugal, even to Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. Pope Benedict XIV declared him blessed, and Pius VII solemnly placed him in the ranks of the saints in the year 1807.
from: The Franciscan Book of Saints,
ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #3:
The present rule, succeeding “Memoriale Propositi” (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times. Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.