Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Shroud of Turin

The Mystery of Holy Saturday

Its Spiritual Significance

Introduction :

One could say that the "Shroud" is the Icon of this mystery, the Icon of Holy Saturday. Indeed, it is a winding - sheet that was wrapped round the body of a man who was crucified, corresponding in every way to what the Gospels tell us of Jesus Christ who was crucified at about noon, died at about 3.00 in the afternoon.

At nightfall, since it was "Parasceve" that is the eve of Holy Saturday, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich and authoritative member of the Sanhedrin, courageously asked Pontius Pilate for permission to bury Jesus Christ in his new tomb which he had hewn out in the rock not far from Golgotha.

From that moment, Jesus Christ remained in the tomb until dawn of the day after the Sabbath was chronologically brief ( about a day and a half) but immense, infinite in its value and in its significance.

No Man's Land :

Holy Saturday is a "No Man's Land" between the death and the resurrection but this "No Man's Land" was entered by One, "the Only One" who passed through it with the signs of his Passion for man's sake :


And the Shroud speaks to us precisely about this moment -- testifying exactly to that unique and unrepeatable interval in the history of humanity and the universe in which God in Jesus Christ not only shared our dying but also our remaining in death -- the most radical solidarity.

In this "time -beyond- time", Jesus Christ "descended to the dead".

What does this mean ??

This means that God having made himself Man, reached the point of entering man's most extreme and absolute solitude, where not a ray of love enters, where total abandonment reigns without any word of comfort -- "HELL".

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".

"PASSIO CHRISTI". "PASSIO HOMINIS". ( The Suffering of Christ is the suffering of Humanity).

This is the Mystery of Holy Saturday !!

This is the power of the Shroud: From the face of this "Man of Sorrows", who carries with him the passion of man of every time and every place, our passions too, our sufferings, our difficulties and our sins -- "PASSIO CHRISTI".


From this face a solemn majesty shines, a paradoxical lordship. This face, these hands, and these feet, this side, this whole body speaks.

How does the Shroud speak ?? It speaks with blood and blood is Life !!

The Shroud is an Icon written in Blood; the Blood of a Man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced.

The Image impressed upon the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Every trace of Blood speaks of Love and of Life -- specially that huge stain near the rib, made by the blood and water that flowed copiously from a great wound inflicted by the tip of a Roman Spear.

That Blood and that Water speak of Life. It is like a spring that murmurs in the silence, and we can hear it, we can listen to it in the silence of Holy Saturday.

Note :

On Sunday Evening, May 2, 2010 Emeritus Pope Benedict 16, went to the Cathedral of Turin and before the solemnly exposed Shroud gave this meditation.

Credits and References :

The Image of God that ripped us from the hands of death by his
Holiness Emeritus Pope Benedict 16
Pages 18-19
September 2010, Volume -12 N0-5
Don Bosco's Madonna, Mumbai


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