Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Poem for Holy Saturday

I run this every year either on St. Josephs day or Holy Saturday.  Even if you are not a huge fan of poetry, I guarantee you will be moved by this one. Note: the "Benedicite" Moses requests is the canticle from Daniel that we pray in the psalter on Easter and every Sunday week I. 
 If this your first time reading this piece, pass it on to anyone else you know who loves St. Joseph. 

Limbo by Sister Mary Ada, OSJ

The ancient grayness shifted
Suddenly and thinned
Like mist upon the moors
Before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted
A shining face and said:
“He will be coming soon.
The Son of God is dead;
He died this afternoon.”

A murmurous excitement stirred
All souls.
They wondered if they dreamed –
Save one old man who seemed
Not even to have heard.

And Moses, standing,
Hushed them all to ask
If any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared
Could not the three young children sing
The Benedicite, the canticle of praise
They made when God kept them from perishing
In the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them,
Stilling Moses’ words.
No one could speak, remembering
The first fresh flowers,
The little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed
Or apple trees
All blossom-boughed.
Or some, the way a dried bed fills
With water
Laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam
On bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred
Remembered home.

And there He was
Splendid as the morning sun and fair
As only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy,
Knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore
Five crimson stars
He never had before.

No canticle at all was sung
None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,
A silent man alone
Of all that throng
Found tongue –
Not any other.
Close to His heart
When the embrace was done,
Old Joseph said,
“How is Your Mother,
How is Your Mother, Son?”


  1. This is indeed very beautiful and very moving. I'd never before seen anything written from the perspective of the holy souls waiting for Christ. What a great start to the Solemnity!

  2. This is funny, Daria. I went googling for this poem to stick on my FB, under the title: Limbo and up came your blog. Thanks!

  3. I think I write about this poem nearly every year some place or other. This year it's here. Glad you're gonna spread it around.

  4. Hello Daria. Met you when you were living in Pa. Miss you and so happy to see you are well. Best Wishes, Karen.

    1. Now I'm thinking of a couple of Karens I knew out there. Sacred Heart parish?

  5. This poem was just recited on a program about Icons on EWTN. Looking for Sister Mary Ada and Limbo and found you. Thank you.
    And yes, I love the Liturgy of the Hours.
    Peace and Blessings, Barbara

    1. Hi, and a belated Merry Christmas. I would have loved to see them reading this on EWTN. Such a wonderful piece of verse. Welcome to Coffee&Canticles.

  6. Lovely poem and thank you for sharing it. I am reading it on Fri. Mar. 28,2014, which is neither St. Joseph day nor Holy Sat. The heading indicates that it is posted on Sat. Apr. 19, 2014. I am as impressed with the time travel as I am with the poem.

    1. Good heavens! This wasn't supposed to happen! I thought I'd set it to appear on April 19th. Not sure now whether to take it off of leave it. grrrr. Well,, glad you enjoyed it.

  7. This is beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. I am new to your site and have just ordered your book. May the Lord bless all who read your words and may His truth prevail. In Jesus Name.