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  • Sarah Raad

Rest

“But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56).

Earliest known (6th century) Roman depiction of Saint Mary the Queen, Santa Maria Antiqua church, Rome.

I have been reflecting on a very important passage of the Gospel of Saint Luke that describes the burial of Christ (Luke 23:50-56)…


“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took It down, wrapped It in linen cloth and placed It in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:50-56).


I have read or heard this passage read many many times during my life, and yet, this time when I read it one sentence stood out for me more than any other – as though it had been written all those thousands of years ago for my eyes…


It is not the first part of the passage that drew my attention on this day. You see, the first part describes Joseph of Arimathea asking Pilate for the Body of Christ and then placing that Body into the Tomb, and while the burial of my Blessed Lord is an event that will consume my mind, it is not the most important part of the story for me today.


Instead, what my heart was drawn to today was the line that read… “But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56). And there is a reason that I could not seem to move on from this sentence today… And the reason is the Queen of Heaven. You see, that is who Saint Luke is calling “they” when he says, “But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56). And I have been thinking about what that really means for me – and for you too…


You see, there is no dispute that Christ who is God Himself, was killed – brutally and unjustly. And there is no doubt that when a human is killed (or dies) – especially in hot climates like that in the Middle East – there is very little time that can elapse before the body begins to decompose. And there – right there in that very little time that she had to put to rights the Holy Body of her Beloved Son – Our Blessed Mother, Queen of Heaven, “… rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56).


And today I cannot help but marvel at her faith – for such obedience could ONLY be borne of truly PERFECT FAITH… She did not sit and wonder what she should do. She did not worry that time would have passed and it would be too late. She did not complain that resting on the Sabbath was a stupid rule. She did not rail at God for the injustice that she suffered as part of His Divine Plan. All she did – She who is Queen of Heaven – is rest…

And when I think of that wonderous rest of my Blessed Mother, I cannot help but repeat after Saint Therese of Lisieux, who wrote on a holy card on 8th September 1897, “O Mary, if I were Queen of Heaven and you were Thérèse, I would want to be Thérèse so that you might be Queen of Heaven!!!”

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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