Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Holy Week Reflection Series

Holy Week Reflection Series

Holy Saturday: The Night Watch of the Resurrection

Even in our solitude we can  contemplate the Mystery and proclaim "Alleluia"

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

Throughout his life St. Francis of Assisi dealt with the tension between the call to proclaim the Gospel and the desire to be alone with God in prayer. Often after preaching to the people in the streets or in the churches he would retreat to his hermitage outside of town to spend time in solitude.

We approach the Night Watch of the Resurrection in solitude this year. Where will be the place we designate as our hermitage? Alone and silent in our private space, we can light a special candle and contemplate some of the beautiful words from the Easter Proclamation (Exultet), the Church’s Easter song of joy:

  • “This is the night when you once led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt, and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.”
  • “This is the night that with a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin.”
  • “This is the night when Christ broke the prison bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld.”
  • “O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and the divine to the human.”

Pondering these words from the Exultet, we can consider the questions:

  • How have we been led from slavery to freedom?
  • From what prisons has the Risen Lord freed us?
  • How have we been experiencing the divine Presence in the midst of our humanity?
  • How is Jesus living and rising in us?

And focusing on that special candle, we can recite or sing a joyful, “Alleluia!”


Father Bill Jacobs
04/10/2020 6:36 am

Good Morning Good Sisters!

Thanks so very much for these powerful reflective questions....

It's been a Lent that none of us will ever forget......

Hopefully, it was a Lent that none of us ever forgot Jesus......

In Christ's Never-ending Love,

Happy Easter Sisters! Happy Easter! Father Bill

04/11/2020 7:52 am

This early Saturday morning, I am led to Psalm 22, the Prayer of Abandonment, JESUS prayed from the cross, that Sr. Elise referred to Friday.

But today, I am not only praying this psalm with JESUS in mind, I am praying it with all the disciples and apostles in mind. For I consider that each one of them - women and men, alike, must have felt like JESUS, himself, did, in his most grievous sufferings, as he cried out for his G O D to save him.

I think of each one of the apostles - men and women-friends-evangelists-disciples ..... and in my heart, I know the conflicting and overwhelming emotions each one, in their own way, is experiencing. How could the words of Psalm 22, which they, too, knew by heart, NOT be a part of their own prayer this day -- having witnessed what they just witnessed, and knowing, too, that they, themselves might be "next?"

So, today I am 'with the apostles ......' I am frightened. I am confused. I feel I have been thrown into something I never really 'signed up for.' The love and trust I have placed in God, and in God's Servant, JESUS, in whom I saw the Light of Truth, is shaking inside of me.

The words of Psalm 22 begin with the anguish I feel in my heart: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

As I continue reading/praying this 'Prayer for Deliverance,' I find this prayer also expresses deep, deep trust and confidence in God. This psalm vacillates between expressing feelings of desertion, as in 'a dark night of the soul,' then turns to remembering and believing that God hears and God saves.

2 I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy .... 4 In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads ....

9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. ...

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! Glorify him; stand in awe of him.

24 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard

when I cried to him. ....

29 and I shall live for him.

This most intense and beautiful cry of humanity is not only crying out our feelings of BEING abandoned; it is also the soul's abandonment INTO God. It is our cry of surrender ..... yielding, giving ourselves over to the will of God .....

....... Who, but Spirit, could turn our 'abandonment' into such a most 'holy' and 'good' and 'marvelous' thing?

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