“A Day of Vigil with the Blessed Virgin Mary” – A Holy Saturday Reflection with Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

“A Day of Vigil with the Blessed Virgin Mary” – A Holy Saturday Reflection with Msgr. John Esseff


Msgr. John Esseff and Kris McGregor discuss the significance of the Paschal mysteries, focusing on the relationship between Mary, Jesus, and believers. They emphasize that the events of Good Friday are not merely historical but continue to resonate in the lives of baptized individuals.

Msgr. Esseff reflects on Mary’s role at the foot of the cross and her unwavering faith during Jesus’s death and burial, highlighting her as a model of hope in times of apparent failure and darkness.

Drawing parallels between Mary’s faithfulness and the challenges believers face, Msgr. Esseff urges listeners to trust in God’s faithfulness even amidst despair or desolation; using Mother Teresa’s perceived spiritual darkness and the importance of hope in preventing despair as an example.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. The Paschal Mysteries in Our Lives: Reflect on the idea that the Paschal mysteries are not just historical events but ongoing realities in the lives of baptized individuals. How does this understanding influence your perception of your own spiritual journey?
  2. Mary’s Role at the Foot of the Cross: Consider Mary’s presence at the crucifixion of Jesus. How does her unwavering faith and witness inspire you in times of trial or suffering?
  3. Mary as Mother of Hope: Reflect on Mary’s role as the Mother of Hope, particularly in moments of apparent failure or darkness. How does her example encourage you to maintain hope and trust in God’s faithfulness during challenging times?
  4. Trusting in God’s Faithfulness: In times of despair or desolation, how do you maintain trust in God’s promises, as Mary did during the darkness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday?
  5. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart: Consider the significance of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a source of hope and triumph over darkness. How can you deepen your devotion to Mary’s immaculate heart in your spiritual life?
  6. Finding Resurrection in Darkness: Reflect on moments in your life when you have experienced darkness or apparent failure. How did you find hope and resilience in those times, trusting in the promise of resurrection and new life?

Reading 2HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9

“Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton. He served as a retreat director and confessor to St. Teresa of Calcutta. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor. He is a founding member of the Pope Leo XIII Institute. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians, and other religious leaders.

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