A Holy Saturday Rosary Reflection on Our Lady’s Journey from Darkness to Dawn

Heavenly Father,

Fill our minds, hearts, and souls with the beauty of the purest Mother of God, who remained close to the disciples on the world’s darkest day and persevered with them until the light of the Resurrection dawned upon the world.

Let us walk with her, accompany her in her grief, listen to her wisdom, and be filled with her sweet presence. With her to guide us on our journey of faith, grant us her hope for the future and for the life of heaven with you.

We make this prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

1 – The Deposition of Christ

“For your breach is vast as the sea; who could heal you?” (Lamentations 2:13)

He is utterly poured out. There is nothing left for Him to give. My Son, my Lord. Every drop of blood they have drained. Has anyone ever given so much?

When Joseph of Arimathea arrived at sunset with the caring friends of Jesus, Calvary was a desolate wasteland. All humans had abandoned the scene. The air was eerily silent. The only sound was that of a night owl, a bird of prey, to remind them of the heinous injustice that had been committed on the Innocent One that day.

Mary was there, witness to the deposition of God from His throne. She gathers up the Precious Blood and receives His lifeless body into the cradle of her loving embrace as she had cradled Him as a babe. “Is there any grief like mine?” she murmurs without need for an answer.

The Holy One of Israel sees my grief. My hope shall not be in vain. On the third day, all existence will be shaken to its core. He will rise from where He lies. So I believe.

(Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer.)

2 – The Burial in the Tomb

“Your punishment is completed, daughter Zion, the Lord will not prolong your exile.” (Lamentations 4:22)

I see it now. I understand what I had not known before. Sin is now cast into the depths of Sheol. He became sin to bury sin. He tried to tell us. We were blind. Now the night is as clear as the day.

The servants of the Lord wrap His sacred Body in a shroud and place Him in the nobleman’s tomb. One Joseph stood at the beginning of His human life and another Joseph stood at the end. Each faithful to the task at hand; each providing a resting place: one a cradle, the other a grave.

Our Lady watches the loving hands of His friends as they lower her Son’s Body down, down, descending in a seemingly endless path. This tomb is not His resting place forever. He is going to visit the “spirits in prison” in Sheol to redeem them too.

Didn’t He say of Lazarus, “This illness is not to end in death”? Lazarus died, yes, but he didn’t stay dead. Dear, dear Lazarus. Hope incarnate. My Son died too, but He is not dead. So I believe.

(Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer.)

3 – The Grieving Heart

“Look, O LORD, at my misery; how the enemy triumphs!” (Lamentations 1:9)

No, there is no grief like mine! No other woman has ever given birth to God. No one else knows this grief. The nails pierced not only His limbs but also my heart. Like His sacred Blood, I too am poured out in a thousand rivulets of pain.

The faithful women stay with the grieving Mother in the home of John. For them it was the loss of a teacher, a master, a friend, and a warrior. For her, it is the loss of her firstborn child, her only Son. Words are distractions now. Food offers no comfort. Only prayer and patience remain.

God’s city is empty this night. Souls are weeping, like Mary Magdalene and the few faithful who have not fled. They are all fearful of what comes next. But the presence of the grieving Mother of God is somehow consoling to them. She weeps with them, for them, and on behalf of them. She is Daughter Zion, weeping for the whole world.

My grief is eternal for a Love that has no limits. I feel the sorrows of my wayward people even from the time of our father Abraham. I shed the tears of all humanity for its rejection of God. But He has not rejected us. So I believe.

(Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer.)

4 – The Long Vigil

“You drew near on the day I called you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’” (Lamentations 3:57)

I was there with Him in the Garden – in my heart. I felt every drop of bloody sweat exude from His brow. I am here with Him in His tomb, lifeless, waiting for the return of Life Himself.

The horror of Friday reawakens with the dawn of Saturday. He is gone. The barrenness of the city now feels like the utter emptiness of sinful humanity. All the world is bereft of light because He is gone. The disciples trickle back one by one to John’s house where the Virgin Mother lies in expectant grief. She forgives the ones who ran away in fear. She speaks words of kindness, not reproach, to the denier and grieves the death of the betrayer.

The holy Mother is the focal point of their grief too. She soothes their broken hearts. “Did He not tell you to wait?” That means there is something to wait for. She knows this. She has waited thirty-three long years for this moment. She speaks with an assurance born of imperishable union. Patience and prayer. Silence and hope. It is the long vigil. Hope will not disappoint.

What could I tell them that would bring them to believe? Faith is not hard when you know Him as I do. There is pain in the separation, yes, deep, abiding pain. But it will soon be filled with Life. Wait, wait, wait with stout hearts, my dearest children. Wait for the Lord! All the prophets told of it. So I believe.

(Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer.)

5 – The Moment Before Sunrise

“The LORD has kindled a fire in Zion that has consumed her foundations.” (Lamentations 4:11)

Is a mother allowed to hope beyond hope? Look! There is the thinnest ray of dawn arising over Mount Zion! I have been waiting for you, sister light! His Day is at hand. His tomb will soon empty its riches out upon the earth. His fire will burst forth to shatter the darkness, and grace will be poured out upon the human race. So it has been prophesied. So I believe.

If the Mother of Christ slept while her Christ went down among the dead “to preach to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19), scripture bears no account. Mary’s Holy Saturday night vigil was a union of spirit, grace, faith, patience. Heroic patience. She waited and prayed, waited and prayed.

If the writer of the Book of Genesis were to tell the story of the New Adam and the New Eve when the New Day dawned, his story would end like this: “Evening came and morning followed – the Eternal Day.”

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord! My spirit rejoices in God my savior. For He has looked with favor upon the lowliness of His handmaid. Yes! All generations will call me blessed! Holy, holy, holy is His Name!

(Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer.)

Hail, Holy Queen…


Let us pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal God and Father of the world to come, Life-Giving Spirit, when you rose from the dead and gave gifts to mankind, you did not hesitate to fill us with everlasting hope in the promise of your kingdom.

We are orphans, traveling in a dark land, full of sorrows and pain, children of Eve. But our Mother of Hope walks with us to remind us that nothing is definitively lost among all the lamentations and travails of a broken world.

Fill us with her peace and inspire us by her courage to persevere to the end with infinite hope of everlasting joy with you and our loved ones, world without end.