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Ink Slingers Martina

Creative Ways to Practice the Pause

Being female, first born, and Mexican American, I have plenty of practice in asserting my opinion – and shockingly enough (because I know this will come as a surprise to those who know me IRL), it’s hard to keep my opinion to myself and, instead, pause at times. Unsolicited advice, opinions, theories, reactions…they’re all in my wheelhouse, friends, lol.

But I heard it put so beautifully the other day when I shared on social media about the seeming uselessness of being angry when compared to the thought of dying the next day. Would that anger really matter in the grand scheme of things? One person commented they were trying really hard to “practice the pause.”

“Gold,” I thought. ABSOLUTE GOLD.

How often do we react when we should listen and thoughtfully respond? How quickly do we react? Do we listen to listen or listen to react? Are we listening so that we can craft a response that builds us up or tears others down? What are some strategies we can employ so that we can be a better listener and respond in a way that invites an authentic discussion for both parties? When we make an honest effort to do the following, it can go a long way in curbing the angry response to others.

HOW TO PRACTICE THE PAUSE

Stay close to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I know many of us were kept away from the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a long time due to the shutdown. Staying close to Jesus in the Eucharist is just one way we can ensure our relationships with others are rooted in genuine charity.

Make Reconciliation a regular habit. Once a month is a great goal to have, if not more frequently if you feel God calling you to go more often. Consider going to confession as the pathway to hear the marching orders God has for your life. Kinda hard to hear Him if we’re steeped in sin.

Listen to listen. Have you ever had a conversation with a friend who listened to you? I mean REALLY listened to you? Like…they want to know all about what’s going on with YOU and not just leap in at the end of your sentence to tell you how you should fix your problems.

Extend charity. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Admittedly, this one is hard to put into practice because it requires a lot of looking outside of yourself for perspective.

Remember these are people you are arguing with. This is especially important online when we tend to reduce people to screen names or handles. One good strategy is to ask yourself “would I say this to someone’s face?”

Walk away. Or exit the app or close the laptop. Whatever is robbing your peace, take the wind out of the sails by walking away. That thrill of getting that zinger in will dissipate, leaving you to wonder if you should add that to your confession list – ouch.

Create a list…of things you can do to make walking away easier. Are you at work? Should you be working? If you’re at home, are there chores that you should be doing?

What are some things you would add to this list? Share below in the comments, OR share in a reel on Instagram and tag us – we’ll feature you!

Looking for some similar reads? Check these out:

Categories
Confession Faith Formation Ink Slingers Martina Prayer Resources Sacraments

How to Turn a Sob Story into a Good Confession

The other day my husband and I had a decently intense conversation about the merits of a sob story. One of us (my husband) prefers to speak to a contractor in simple terms. His details are succinct and to the point. The other (me) likes to paint a beautiful picture, complete with smells and sound if possible. I want you to SEE and FEEL that our cut propane line is an emergency. When my husband calls a plumber, his conversation goes something like this:

Hi, yes – our propane line is broken. Mmmhmm…yes, we need it repaired. Oh, next week? Yeah, we’re going to need it taken care of sooner. Calls someone else, rinse and repeat.

When I call the plumber, it goes like this:

Hi! I’m driving behind one of your trucks and thought I’d call! We have a bit of an emergency with six children at home and have been without hot water or the ability to cook on the stove the past five days. Is there any chance we could expedite service? Oh, I see the truck I’m behind is turning into my neighborhood – can you send that guy over?

30 minutes later, the plumber shows up – I would wager because I gave enough description for them to determine our need and location to a worker in the area.

Tying this into confession

But how does this relate to what God wants from us? I immediately likened it to confession. I mean a REALLY GOOD confession. You know the kind you give when it’s a priest you’ve never met? I know you’re nodding in agreement right now.

I know when I sit in the pew waiting for confession to begin, I feel nauseous…because sins. Same sins as last time and the time before that and the…well, you get the point. We usually try to get to confession ahead of time so we can wait on the front end instead of wondering if we’ll get to have our confession heard before Mass begins.

And then…as I inch seat by seat as members of the family head into the confessional, that stress creeps in.

“Just focus on how you’ll feel when you walk out,” I tell myself.

And the internal dialogue that follows resembles that of a tantruming toddler tussling with the momma.

I go in and I bare my soul, and pour out my sob story because I think it’s what God wants of me. I know that confessions of old (and even today still) involve enumerating ones sins in an effort to provide a succinct list of what’s what and possibly helps the priest focus on some problematic areas for the penitent. And I appreciate that for what it is and respect Father’s time.

When I say sob story *in* confession, what I am really saying is even if you are enumerating your sins, it can also be super helpful for the priest to hear some backstory, especially if this is a regular confessor and has heard your same sins time and again. It helps them give specific advice and support unique to your state in life.

So, what are some solid ways to make a good confession?

  • Go frequently. Or go back. Yes, I know the virus has made things infinitely hard and maybe, just maybe, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we may have rationalized ourselves into a corner where we have not been to Reconciliation or even Mass in a very long time, but understand this. The priest is there to guide you and be that channel for God’s infinite Mercy. Think of and perhaps focus on how you’ve felt walking out of the confessional!
  • Do a thorough Examination of Conscience. This is especially important if it’s been a while since you’ve been to Reconciliation. Make it a good one!
  • Don’t be afraid to make an appointment with the priest. If it’s been a number of months or longer, consider making an appointment with the priest so you can say all you need to without the potential stress of holding up the line.
  • Make a daily examination of conscience a part of your routine going forward. Now that you’ve been to confession, it’s time to see where you can tweak things on the daily. I highly recommend a daily reflection on areas where you’ve improved and need improvement. This will help your next confession tremendously. If you’ve purchase DAYBOOK, there is a place to do a daily Ignatian Examination of Conscience.

Interested in more resources on Confession?


Read previous articles

Download a good Examination of Conscience

Consider purchasing the Pocket Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation from Ascension Press and keep it in your purse (ladies) or in your car (ladies and gents)

Categories
Current Events Ink Slingers Martina

The One Thing You CAN Do To Dismantle Racism

The One Thing You CAN Do To Dismantle Racism

You’ll be surprised to learn that the one thing you can do to end racism is simple. Surprisingly simple. SHOCKINGLY simple, I would even wager.

I have some other earth-shattering news, too. Systemic racism isn’t defeated with causes or marches or protests (only) or campaigns or even hashtags and black squares, even IF those things are good in and of themselves. It will be defeated by one thing we can all do, but can’t execute perfectly.

THE ONE THING

Are you ready? The one thing that can be done to end racism starts with what YOU can do. 

Be Kind To Others.

That’s it. It’s not a flashy concept or movement or hashtag campaign. It’s a direct command from Jesus himself – John 13:34. The solution is simple, but the execution is difficult, so I’m going to pad the ONE THING with some things we can all do to better execute a shift in mindset.

WHY IT’S DIFFICULT TO EXECUTE

I could bore you with some diatribe about the following: people – collectively speaking – can’t execute this idea of kindness well at all or we would have had world peace ages ago. We’re sinful, mired by our sinful indulgences and lifestyles. Often we can’t see beyond the end of our noses and empathy is something we often struggle with.

We can’t put ourselves in others’ shoes if we won’t make the effort to get out of our own shoes.

IT’S A LOT LIKE PRAYER

People sometimes struggle with prayer life because it’s at perpetual odds with the culture and world we live in. We look to results to determine our actions. We are goals and results driven people. If we can’t at least see some results to bolster us in our pursuits, we may end up quitting. The basis for this seems reasonable. Why put effort into good practices if we have no tangible results?

It’s simple. Because doing good for its own sake should be its own reward. But like I said, we’re fallen and that clouds our ability to do what is right at every turn.

WAYS TO KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT

First, we need to cultivate an attitude that embraces others in healthy ways. Please note, I am not saying we should blindly accept others’ sinful actions or lifestyle choices. And I know some/many of us come from deeply damaged backgrounds and upbringings that it’s hard to see the good in others…heck, sometimes it’s hard to see the goodness in our own selves and that’s a topic that’s worth writing about all on its own.

START WITH THE FAITH

If we look to the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church), we can see how it expands upon our inherent dignity as children of God.

MAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

CHAPTER ONE 

THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON 

1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions (article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience (article 5). Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6). With the help of grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son1 to the mercy of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the perfection of charity. 1 Lk 15:11-32

WAYS TO PRACTICE BEING KIND

Questions we can ask ourselves and things we can think about to see if we are practicing the ability to be kind.

  1. SELF. Start with yourself. Are you kind to yourself? It’s hard to extend kindness to others when we don’t like ourselves.
  2. FAMILY. How about our closest relationships? For many of us, this means our nuclear family: spouse and children. How do we treat our spouse? Our children? Are we modeling the virtues we want to see in the world?
  3. THINK. Before you say something to anyone, use the THINK model – is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and finally, Kind?
  4. CULTIVATE. Conversations are a great way to root out issues and change behaviors, habits, and attitudes that have overstayed their welcome. 
  5. SOCIAL MEDIA. Anger has a way of manifesting itself in some volatile ways, one of which is harboring and feeding frustrations until they bubble up into anger, and sometimes rage. Anger comes in the form of sarcasm, too. If you feel yourself making increasingly negative blanket statements against people or groups of people, step away from the keyboard. For more tips on social media, I invite you to read an article I wrote some years ago on the subject. 
  6. INFLUENCERS. If you are someone for whom you are blessed to have a platform and followers who you respect, use your voice responsibly. Take great care in the way you engage, what you write, and even what you allow to be posted to your accounts. At no time are we ever required to put up with any behavior that ridicules, mocks, or even lacks basic courtesy. There was a time when folks believed (myself included) that commenters had the right to say what they wanted under the guise of free speech. While this is true where it applies to our rights as Americans, I urge you to think of your platform as your living room. People can disagree and vigorously so, but when the arguments become ad hominem (meaning the argument itself is not attacked, but the character of the person saying it) or destructive, your platform can become an occasion of (if not an outright) sin. Set the bar high. Tell fans and lookie loos that basic Christian charity is to be extended towards one another and if someone fails to follow that simple request, you should hide the comment, delete the comment, and/or ban the follower should it come to that.

These may seem like such hokey (ok, whatever) ways to live kindness, but let me put it to you this way. Peace and love towards self and others? It’s not a hippie concept, friends. This is what Christ calls us to for ourselves and to others. No exceptions.

I TRY BUT I CAN’T BE KIND – IT’S HARD

If this is how you are feeling, listen to that voice.

Disconnect from the things that are aggravators. If you don’t know what that is, pay attention to triggers that set you off.

Try journaling instead of commenting online.

Hold your tongue. Social media has conditioned us to think we should say and share all the things. I’m telling you it’s ok to hang onto those thoughts if it’s going to cause harm or division or hurt.

LASTLY

I just want to tell you if you are someone who has had to step away from social media or taken flack from those who call you friends for not speaking up for injustices because your heart is too filled with grief, anxiety, sadness, or massive stress over the growing tensions, I want to say I hear and see you. You are NOT bad, uncaring, racist, or otherwise. Self preservation is a real thing and we all have our limits. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your actions.

In fact, in the spirit of kindness, we should be assuming the best in others, especially friends (hello, that’s why we became friends to begin with!) and showing tenderness to each other when words defy us.

Undoing systemic racism isn’t going to happen overnight, but just like prayer we won’t always see the effects. It doesn’t mean it isn’t happening or that our efforts aren’t building a culture of respect and love for others. Think of it as building a cathedral. Cathedrals took sometimes hundreds of years to build. And most times the architect didn’t even see the completion in his lifetime. But here’s the thing, we have to do the things that build the foundation. For some of us, we are blessed to be building upon something our ancestors left us. For others, we are making the decision today to end the racism that took root in our families. You are foundational and God bless you for making the decision to change the mindset of your family.

Remember…we are the Body of Christ.

Categories
Domestic Church Faith Formation Homeschool Parenting Vocations

Crisis Schooling

Crisis Schooling Tips and Tricks from fellow parents in the trenches

I have to tell you, friends, when we made the decision to stop homeschooling our kiddos and instead send them to a wonderfully small, academically rich classical academy charter school, I wasn’t fully prepared for the screeching halt that has become our life when they came home that last day before Spring Break in March.

You see, I braced myself. I had signed them up for this school with tears in my eyes. Not because I hated homeschooling, but because we had been doing it for 10 years and I wanted to test the waters of a new schooling choice. As Divine Providence would have it, the kiddos were seated one by one in the order that gave this momma heart enough time to adjust to the baby birds leaving the home academic nest. By the time the school year began, I had worked through those emotions and was truly truly happy for them to start this new adventure.

When the world stopped in March, bringing the kids back home, with oodles of books, and school loaned chrome books, I immediately felt like this was not homeschooling.

And it isn’t.

The phrase we are all looking for is crisis schooling. Homeschooling carries with it the idea of choice, even if you make the decision to school because you don’t like your local schools, it is still a choice we make, and one we ultimately own.

Crisis schooling on the other hand has been one that’s been thrown down in our lap. And it’s one that even us former and current homeschooling families are staring at with wide-eyed horror. It. Is. A. Lot. Too Much.

I have to be honest with you – by the time March rolls around, I am already waving off the year with a flick of my wrist, drooling over the new curriculum books and programs for the next year, and generally we are winding down by this point. We hit the books heavy in August and skate in on fumes by the time March and April roll around. We rarely, if ever, take a school year all the way into May. Truth be told, I am mentally done with the school year by the time Thanksgiving hits, but that is a whole OTHER post, friends.

Some of you may be wondering how the heck your homeschool friends manage homeschooling by your experience of juggling exactly 1000 balls of working and managing Zoom calls left and right. I’m here to tell you that your homeschool friends are wondering how you’re doing it, too.

This. Is. Not. What. Homeschooling. Looks. Like. On the daily.

Sincerely. What you’re doing is called crisis schooling and what YOU are doing is quite heroic. Percentage wise, most homeschooling families have one parent who schools and does not work while schooling is going on.

Is it hard? YEP. But is it at all the same level of stress that you’re undergoing? Not even a little bit. We can choose to do schoolwork at our leisure – start when we want – end when we want. Many of us choose to homeschool in large part due to the freedom.

So, if you were to ask me if what I’m doing now is homeschooling with my kiddos, I would say a hard no. What I am in this role is basically a home appointed teacher’s aid. And each teacher has their own method of instruction. Between managing the domestic front, I now have to guide them through their work, messages, emails, working with Jupiter Pods (which LOVE to kick back completed assignments as blank and have them redo it allllll over again – oh the wailing and the gnashing of the teeth!), and making sure things are submitted on time. All while balancing those needs with the needs of a 3yo who has recently decided emphatically that NOW is the time to potty train and a 3 month old infant whose needs are…well…predictable if not overwhelming.

I polled some friends who homeschooled in the past from families who have one parent home and not working and from those who both parents are working. I have my own perspective that I share below, but thought y’all would love to hear from a variety of folks who can offer different points of view.

Remember – we ARE all in this together; HOWEVER, we are all different, and our stress levels are different, and what works for one, may not work for another. We are unique and beloved, but we can definitely rally around each other and embrace our different paths through these incredibly trying times. God love y’all.

TIPS

Schooling with one stay at home parent

My best advice in schooling with one parent at home and you have little littles is to advocate for what works for your family. Schools seem to give decent leeway given the extenuating circumstances, so if you’ve yet to find that rhythm, try different things until you find what works. For us, when we homeschooled is that we have an order we stick to rather than a timeline. Rather than starting school right at 8:00 a.m. (ha, yeah right with an infant!), we shoot for the order of things that need to get done before school starts. That means, wake up, chores, change into (clean) play clothes, have breakfast, and then they start on schoolwork. I used to time the bulk of schoolwork when we homeschooled to coincide with naps, but that’s not practical in this situation, so we altered it to meet the needs of this situation. ~ Martina

I have a HS that’s public, two middle schoolers in private and one homeschooled. I find that your kid’s personality defines your experience. My HS and my 8th grader are laid back, follow instructions and are people pleasers. They want to do well even in distance learning. My 5th grader is a self pleaser, independent, strong willed, good leadership type qualities, but if something better is happening she’ll skip a zoom class or an assignment and just take the consequences with ill-grace. She’s the hardest one, so keeping on a regimen that’s written down is easiest for her and doing it exactly the same every day. 10:30 reading, 1:00 math, 2:00 Tuesday and Thursday math tutoring as an example.  
My third grader we use CHC since kindergarten, he is also a people pleaser, wants to get done and moving on to riding his bike or visiting his new niece across the street.  

I’ve homeschooled all of them in the past most of my frustrations were either my expectations were too large for myself or for them. When talking to other homeschool moms or teachers the tendency is to overachieve when achieving could be enough.
~ anonymous

I used to homeschool and now our kids have lessons from the classical school they attend.  Don’t feel bad about skipping the optional subjects. Do some things orally if possible. They need to read a set amount of time per day? Pop in an audio book.  Don’t be afraid to tell the school if assignments seem unreasonable. ~ Rachel U.

Take time for yourself everyday.  
That will look different for everyone, but it’s something I’ve been a firm believer in from the get-go, and find myself needing *more* self-care than before, because I am giving more of myself than before.

Don’t feel bad if you are doing the bare minimum for school, or are not even getting that most days. This is a short time in our children’s educational career.

One of the things that I love as a homeschooler that may or may not be possible with crisis schooling families is to combine things – my children are all studying the same history period, the same science concepts. We read books aloud altogether.
~ anonymous

I recommend picking a “main” place to do school work. We are using our dining room. Our kids leave the dining room to find a quiet spot to take a test or read but all their books, laptops, school supplies etc must come back to the dining room to be put away at the end of the school day. This keeps all the things in one spot and allows me to check over work plus keeps the house from getting overrun by school items. ~ Marion W.

Schooling with both parents working at home

Keeping some sort of schedule. Including schoolwork, and lunch times. We also ALWAYS have at least 1 recess everyday. They need the mental and physical break and so do I! We also have designated spaces where we keep all school and work supplies. Sometimes we move around to different spots to do the work but we always start and end in that spot so we don’t loose anything! ~ Katrina K.

I bought a Kindle for the 4yo to also do “school” while the big kids do school. I work primarily during nap time. ~ Sarah S.

 I only work part time, but the gamechanger for me is that I spend 15 to 30 minutes each day listing all of the work, by family member on a checklist and where everything is located online. I also keep both a monthly calendar of all phone and video meetings and a daily checklist. On that checklist, I note all of the meeting id codes and passwords so I don’t have to look them up. I also have a list of everyone’s school ids, passwords, etc for quick reference and I plan who will be on which device, where and when. 

Just having a refernce sheet and checklist for everyone in one place greatly reduces the scramble and the stress during the grind of the day. I also am okay with my house looking like a wreck during the week. We do what we can and the clean over the weekend.
~ C.W.

The key is to have very low expectations. Don’t compare yourself to others. We do the bare minimum. And we don’t do that well, lol! A few things that have worked-our schedule is based on my work schedule. I work weird hours and I sleep for a time in the afternoon. So all our school work is done around that schedule. I try to manage the process, but my older kids are pretty much on their own. I try to isolate my most disruptive child. I let my kids start their work at staggered times-this works for me. If the older kids sleep late, it helps me get my work done. We did invest in additional computers and that was a sanity saver. During the week we lock up tablets and phones to preserve the Wifi and keep the kids focused. This also makes it easier to force them to help with chores. As far as the online meetups-I just don’t do them unless they are crucial. I have had to let our teachers know that I can’t do them and they understand. Most of our teachers have kids at home with them, they understand they just need to know your situation. I also have invested some money in special craft and art supplies for the kids to help keep them busy and out of my hair. If your school is still giving you assignments 5 days a week advocate strongly for a 4 day week with Friday for makeup work. This is so helpful to families especially those working and juggling computer access at home with multiple kids. ~ Amy N.

My husband is working full-time, sometimes at home and sometimes at the hospital. My hours have increased, and I’m now gone 3 days a week. We invested in a chromebook for our youngest, which the older kids who had chromebooks issued by school can use when cameras decide to be finicky. We also replaced our router to improve our wifi coverage. (That might have happened regardless.) 
What helped us was starting to write everything down – who has what call and when. From there, we figured out which older kid could help a younger and who could make sure they ate lunch, who would assign chores and make sure they got done, etc. We take about an hour after Mass on Sunday, which seems to be a good time to prep with prayer. 
It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s better. Three weeks time go for us!
~ Amy M.

For me, it is to be prepared for how my schedule is for the day and how much can my kiddos get done while I am in meetings. Mornings we do chores, breakfast, etc. Then I have coloring activities, I look for interactive virtual tours of museums, I did invest in some learning apps (ABCYA) which you can limit what they can do if you want them to focus on a particular area. I found some sites that have various worksheet. My goal is to keep them working/busy. Then we started distance learning, that became more challenging from a tech perspective (long story). I try to schedule my meetings where I can have a little time to check in on them. My 4th grader does ok and he helps my Kinder kid. We have lunch together and we take a walk. I will let them play after lunch and then come back and do some reading and call it a day where they can watch TV. Some days are good. Some days are NOT. ~ Renee F.

My biggest problem is not knowing when I will work. I am an interpreter for deaf children for our school system. The teenager i interpret for has a very tumultuous home life. Sometimes she’s with mom, sometimes dad, sometimes grandma. All different times to work. I try to schedule her for 2pm so I can work with my kids first. I have one adhd child that we are adjusting meds for (her meds last too long for this type of schooling and she’s underweight, so we want her to be able to eat if she can) and the smaller one is a ball of wires. He needs the structure of a classroom, too many distractions at home. He outright refuses to do work sometimes, no matter the consequences. He literally stayed in his room for the week except for mealtimes (there’s nothing in there but a bed and books). I’m at a loss. ~ Lucinda M.

If your company qualifies for the paycheck protection program and you can afford to, take the emergency FMLA time at 2/3 thirds pay. I’m working 10 hours a week at my regular rate and then 30 hours are billed under covid-19 childcare issues and paid 2/3 of what I normally earn and I keep my benefits. This is funded by a federal grant. If I hadn’t done this we would all be in the mental hospital by now. Or I would have had to quit which would be causing enormous financial strain. ~ Ada

Have any tips you’d like to add? Share in the comments, friends.

Categories
Domestic Church Faith Formation Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Martina Prayer

Creative Ways to Lean Into Holy Week (When You Don’t Feel Like You Can)

I don’t know about you, friend, but this has been about the Lentiest Lent ever. Who knew at the beginning of Lent that we’d all be home Sunday after Sunday watching live-streamed Mass from our respective parishes – or even taking a tour around the world to watch live-streamed Masses from other places. Certainly not me. While our Faith is universal and the beauty of that connectedness now more than ever realized when we visit other churches during their Mass times, it does not make up for the fact that we are hurting for and with Jesus. We crave worship with Jesus in His house and partaking of Him – Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity. While we continue to wait for the outcome of this virus and its effects on our society, now more than ever we can lean into some creative ways to walk with Jesus this Holy Week. Let’s jump right in and see what’s going on around the Catholic blogging world for ways we can embrace our walking the way of Calvary.

While this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, it also isn’t meant to exhaust you. Pick one to do or read or watch. Do what you can. I certainly don’t want this to feel like you should do all the things. Do you have any links to add that we’ve missed? Share in the comments with us!

Comfort Reading & Activities

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

O Lord, as we gaze upon You nailed to the cross, we wonder why God chose this path for our redemption. Why did there have to be such pain? Why such gore and brutality? Why did You have to go through betrayal, mockery, and emptiness? Why did the Father have to forsake You in the hour of Your greatest need?

Jesus, the mystery of suffering is hard for us to grasp. We will understand it fully in eternity, but we do know some things now. We know that You chose to be lifted up on a cross out of love for us. We know that suffering purifies us, that, if borne with fortitude and patience, it leads us to gratitude and a greater love for You. Because our sins cause others to suffer, suffering can make reparation for the sins we commit, if we join them to Your Sacrifice. In every situation where we cry with bewilderment, “why?”, God answers us with a vision of Your Passion. Help us to enter deeply into the mystery of Your suffering and death this day, and to listen what You say to us in our hearts. Amen.

Holy Saturday

The Lord’s Descent into Hell (A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday)

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

‘See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

`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 healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

“The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.”

Prayer

Almighty, ever-living God, whose Only-begotten Son descended to the realm of the dead, and rose from there to glory, grant that your faithful people, who were buried with him in baptism, may, by his resurrection, obtain eternal life.

(We make our prayer) through our Lord. 

(Through Christ our Lord.)