1. The Solemnity of Our Lord
2. The Affirmation of God’s Holy Word
3. The Offering and Sacrifice of Redemption
4. The Entombing of the Body of Christ
5. The Vigil in Fear of the Lord
VIRGIN MOST FAITHFUL AND MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
“God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” [1 Cor. 1:9]
“To put into practice the teachings of our holy faith, it is not enough to convince ourselves that they are true; we must love them. Love united to faith makes us practice our religion.” ~ St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori
Excerpt from The Holy Family Rosary: CHAPTER IV
The holy contemplation that follows the Luminous and Sorrowful Mysteries bring us unto many heart-wrenching prayers after Christ’s death while awaiting His promised return. They can justifiably be called the Faithful Mysteries in remembrance that the Old Testament Sabbath would be forever remembered as the New Sabbath by the Solemn rest of Our Lord. The Feast of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, pronounces this new testimony in fulfilling affirmation of Our Lord’s promise that, “I will give you the holy things of David faithful.”
As the psalmist proclaimed: “And his throne as the sun before me: and as the moon perfect for ever, and a faithful witness in heaven” the graves opened and the bodies of the saints arose waiting to be received by their Lord, after His Resurrection. Even now we perpetually adore Christ in His Tabernacle as faithful recipients of Divine Grace offered in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, often referred to as the closest thing to heaven on earth; and to the fortunate many, it truly is!
Through the solemn death of the Son of David the fearfully reactive belief in Jesus as the Messiah is properly identified as the Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord, and is witnessed by Mary (and those awakened from slumber of death from their graves) of her Son – the Son of Man – at rest hanging on the wood of the Cross. Through the Apostles of Christ’s Church these combined mysteries become the fulfilling structure of the Creed of Our Lord’s righteousness and a perpetual New Testament continuum towards eternal life. These mysteries are the foundation for the offering of Eucharist at Holy Mass following His Resurrection on the eighth day, now declared and known as the Lord’s Day.
These meditations teach us the extent of Jesus’ remaining ever faithful in remembrance of when, “… Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”
Begun on the Day of Preparation in anticipation of that one predesignated Holy Saturday as Our Lord’s final human celebration of the Passover Sabbath of the Old Testament, the order of the Holy Mass is reaffirmed in the events immediately following Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death while remaining hung on His Sacred Cross.
The Solemnity of Jesus’ Death is the Introductory Rite of the Mass of the Catechumens. The affirmation of belief and Profession of Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ affirms and announces the Old and New Testament Liturgy of the Word, whom St. John rightfully identifies “In the beginning” of his Gospel as Jesus Christ. By the Piercing of Jesus’ Side, the outpouring from the Sacred Heart of baptismal water and the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ on the Sacred Cross is the Offering for the Remission of Sins. It is the Offering of Salvation and the Sacrifice of Redemption (also called the Sacrifice of the Cross and Sacrifice of the Mass) that heralds in the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the Mass of the Faithful. The taking of Jesus from the Cross and the reposition, burial, or entombing of Jesus’ Body is our Communion Rite where we as new sepulchers take and receive Our Lord. And lastly, the Vigil in Fear of the Lord is our free choice of will in recognition that we will also die and were forewarned to remain vigil with Christ to receive heaven’s reward of eternal life. It is our living choice of free will between blessing or curse, life or death.
In communion with the taking, anointing and laying of His Body in the new tomb – Jesus promotes our keeping guard while fulfilling His Word after His burial and descent into hell. The “New” Testament is actually the “is” with the “was” and the “ever shall be” in reflective view from everyone’s “now.” When Christ said: “It is consummated (finished)”, the Old and New Testaments as two Great Books were once and for all closed in completion and sealed in His binding; and in both, all of humanity was forever, immediately, and simultaneously held bound. This truly is the mystery of faith! The love of God redounding in man!
On that one awe-full Holy Saturday we are shown in contemplative wonder what God had in fact given us then and there as testimony in the truest sense; a perfect example of the double-edged form of economy in salvation history in confirming explanation of the means for our sustaining grace in satisfaction of His Passion and Institution of the Eucharist. This was what was foreknown when He said to them [His disciples]: “Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” Salvation was to be now offered in the fully revealed and truly reflective order of the Mass for Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Pope Pius XI desired this event to be honored as a specific Feast to impact the laity: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”[Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, §33, Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
On the importance of our Church’s foundation in faith, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) was quoted saying: “I will go peaceably and firmly to the Catholic Church: for if Faith is so important to our salvation, I will seek it where Faith first began, seek it among those who received it from God Himself.” Surely this was seen by Mary beyond her sorrow as our cause for reflection of the Solemnity of her Son and Lord. By our reception of Him we are keeping vigil in expectation of what is awaited and still to come (the Kingdom of God’s Son), with Mary ever before us as Star of the Sea shining light through our turmoil to keep watch over us for Jesus, as His and our Holy Queen.
As the vine budding such perfection from Jesse’s root, even from the Cross silenced, the teachings of Christ faithfully continue to explain Mary’s Way of Grace, the Blessed Mother of Christ’s Church as “our Life, our sweetness, and our hope” millenniums beyond the wage Jesus paid for us under humanity’s grave violence.