Holy Saturday Office of Readings

This is from this morning’s Office of Readings. I was very touched by this particular reading so I thought I would share it.


Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory.

At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

"I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell.

"Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

"For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

'See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

"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 has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

'Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God.

“The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity”.


One of my favorites! I look forward to this reading every Holy Saturday!

I’m trying to imagine this as a homily–can anyone explain the abbreviation PG 43, 439… (I presume it is the source)?
I wish I could find a word more precise than mysticism or inspiration–Revelation seems too “high” and imagination seems too “low.”
Somewhere in the range of anagogic, or telestic, or visionary must be a way to describe this type of communication.
I am reminded of the words of St John Eudes, in Office Fri wk33: The mysteries of Jesus are not yet completely perfected and fulfulled. They are complete, indeed, in the Person of Jesus, but not in us, who are His members, nor in the Church, which is His Mystical Body.

“PG” is “Patrologia Graeca,” a large set (lots of volumes) of old Christian texts that were written in Greek. The citation is for volume 43, page 439.

oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Jacques-Paul_Migne

The most important and meritorious of his publications is the “Patrologia”, in two collections: “Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus”, in two series (217 vols. in all, 1844-55), with four volumes of indexes (vols. 218-221, 1862-64), and “Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus”, of which one series contains only Latin translations of the originals (81 vols., 1856-61). The second series contains the Greek text with a Latin translation (166 vols., 1857-66).

–SNIP–

The Patrologia Graeca includes the printed works of Greek Christian writers down to the Council of Florence (1438-39).

–SNIP–

The great value of the collection lies in the fact that at a moderate cost and in a handy form a great work of reference was produced, and a whole series of rare and scattered writings were gathered together, and made easily accessible to the learned world. The collections had a large circulation, and are widely used as works of reference.

The homily appears in a sort of association with St. Epiphanius of Salamis (a bishop on Cyprus in the 4th century). It appears in the volume containing his works, but in a section called “Dubia Aut Spuria” (“doubtful or spurious”). The Greek text and a Latin translation appear on Google Books (direct link to p. 439).

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