Holy Saturday in the life of Our Lord was that day between his appalling death on the Cross and his glorious Resurrection, when his human body, lifeless without its human soul, lay in the dark tomb, unseen to human eye. Our Lord’s enemies seemed so successfully to have crushed him that the Incarnate God was in complete eclipse, and only the faith of Our Lady in her Divine Son remained unshaken. All his other followers she had to sustain, because even the most devout of them felt bewildered and lost.
Now as being the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church follows the life’s course of his physical body. Down all its 2,000 years of history the Church has always been persecuted by the enemies of Christ, and in many parts of the world at various times it has been virtually wiped out. Yet surely it has never been going into complete eclipse like it seems to be doing today. God designed his Church as a monarchy, to be held together by the Pope, and we have just seen a Pope resigning, no doubt in part because he himself, mesmerized by modern democratic thinking, never fully believed in his own supreme office. Taking the papal tiara off his coat of arms, and signing himself always as “Bishop of Rome,” whatever were his intentions when he resigned in February, he surely helped, humanly speaking, to undermine the divine institution of the Papacy.
Certainly by Benedict XVI’s resignation and by the succeeding conclave the enemies of Christ will have been doing all they could for their part to undo the Papacy. By a just punishment of God for the universal apostasy of our age, they have received from him a great power over his Church. They have been working for centuries to get a stranglehold over the Vatican, and they are now entrenched there. With no intention of giving way to a pious little Society, they are, as Anne Catherine Emmerich saw in a vision 200 years ago, dismantling the Church stone by stone. Humanly speaking, today’s followers of Our Lord have as little seeming hope as they had on the original Holy Saturday.
But no more than Our Lord himself is the Catholic Church a merely human affair. In 1846 Our Lady of Salette said about our own times: “The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, penance and their tears will rise up to Heaven, and all of God’s people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ in an act of his justice and great mercy will command his Angels to have all his enemies put to death. Suddenly the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish, and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God, Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere . . . The Gospel will be preached everywhere . . . and man will live in fear of God.”
In other words, God will most certainly resurrect his Church from its present distress. When the eclipse becomes still darker, as it is sure to do, let us merely hold more closely than ever to the Mother of God, and let us resolve now not to weigh upon her then by our disbelief, as did Our Lord’s Apostles and disciples on the first Holy Saturday. Let us undertake to rejoice her Immaculate Heart with our unshakeable faith in her Divine Son and his one true Church.