I came across this Holy Week schedule from 1936 on the New Liturgical Movement, which you all might find interesting and helpful:
As you can see, Tenebrae is celebrated for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – but they begin on Wednesday. That is because Compline (night prayer – celebrated at 5:15pm on this schedule) is the spiritual end of the day. The next day begins with Tenebrae at 5:30 – which is Matins (the office of readings) and Lauds (morning prayer). Keep in mind, Tenebrae was over 2 hrs long, so they probably finished pretty late.
It is helpful for us to understand this because although the calendar will still say Friday, we will be spiritually entering into Holy Saturday – the day all seemed lost. With the passion of Our Lord replaying in our minds and the closed tomb seeming to be the final end of our hope…
…yet, we also recognize the hidden work of Christ on that day – his decent into Hades to welcome Adam, Eve, along with the other faithful departed into eternal life in union with God.
Holy Saturday challenges us to recognize the purpose of the Incarnation – not simply to offer a philosophy of life or to tell us that God loves us (both of which are very important), but to solve the very real problem that began in Genesis. In recognizing the purpose of Christ’s life, we are then able to see more clearly the purpose of one’s own life.
So, as we prayerfully enter into the reality of the passion and death of Our Lord, we also hold fast to what God is doing that day – realizing that God works in the hidden moments – and we ask Him to strengthen us when we encounter our own Holy Saturdays – to patiently endure through the times of great darkness, continuing our pilgrimage to eternity.
…lots more posts to come – make sure you check back regularly.