If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not with truth.
Matthew Y. Emerson
To put it positively, the descensus is a thoroughly biblical doctrine, which teaches that Jesus experienced human death as all humans do—his body was buried, and his soul departed to the place of the dead8—and, in so doing, by virtue of his divinity, he defeated death and the grave.
Matthew Y. Emerson
And because he is God in the flesh, he defeated the place of the dead and the grave by descending into them and then rising again on the third day. In the Christian tradition, this hope is known as the doctrine of Christ’s descensus—his descent to the dead.
Epiphanius of Cyprus
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. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
Homily, “The Lord Descends into Hades”
Saturday is not a day we commemorate what Jesus did for us, but has been turned into a day we spend preparing for Easter.
Christ lay in death’s bonds
given over for our sins,
He has risen again
and brought us life . . .
It was a strange battle,
that death and life waged,
life claimed the victory,
it devoured death.
The scripture had prophesied this,
how one death gobbled up the other,
a mockery has been made out of death.
Christ Lag In Todesbanden
Pope Benedict XVI
To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.
Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977
Every Holy Saturday, the Church waits as it were beside the tomb, meditating on Christ’s death while awaiting the announcement of his resurrection. Like John, we can take Mary into our homes and ponder with her the last words of Christ. Like her, we can rest in a place between anguish and joy, waiting in quiet hope. We can pray the Divine Office, which parts the veil to show us Christ defeating death and releasing sinners from captivity. The King is not dead; he rests from his work. A new day will come. His Cross is not defeat; it is victory!
Jerusalem Jackson Greer
On Holy Saturday I do my best to live in that place, that wax-crayon place of trust and waiting. Of accepting what I cannot know. Of mourning what needs to be mourned. Of accepting what needs to be accepted. Of hoping for what seems impossible.
Merciful and everliving God, Creator of heaven and earth, the crucified body of your Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy day. Grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day and rise in newness of life, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.
Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
Robert Cardinal Sarah
Just as when we were children, we were afraid to be alone in the dark and could only be assured by the presence of someone who loved us. Well this is exactly what happened on Holy Saturday, the voice of God resounded in the realm of death. The unimaginable occurred; namely, love penetrated Hell.
James Bryan Smith
On Holy Saturday Jesus entered into the kind of forsakenness and abandonment beyond anything any person could experience. He was not content to deal with our sin problem; his love extended into the worst of human suffering.
J. Warren Smith
[Holy Saturday] means there is no part of human existence to which Christ did not ‘descend.’
Philip Clayton and J. Warren Smith
When I recite this in church [Jesus’ decent into Hell] , I think there is just no place where the encompassing love of God can’t be present. There is no place where God is afraid to go.
Did Jesus Descend into Hell or to the Dead?, United Methodist News, April 22, 2011.
The Holy Saturday moment: when all seems dark & grim and the only thing left to do is wait…on the Lord for tomorrow morning’s hope is risen.
Hans Urs Von Balthasar
For the glory of God is most fully revealed in the descent of the Son into suffering, death and the passivity of the grave, that which is the kenosis of all beauty.
Hans Urs Von Balthasar, in Theological Trends: Contemporary Theologies of the Cross, I, The Way 28, no.2, (April 1988), 150-151.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our illustrations page on Holy Saturday.