A Day to Inspire our Prayers all Year Long
By Amanda Hudson
Holy Saturday is a great time to pray for those who are alone or lonely.
But then, we should pray for them every day.
All of us are subject to bouts of loneliness, of course, but some must suffer through what we might call an extended Holy Saturday.
On the day after Jesus died, his disciples must have felt as though all of their inner workings had been ripped out of them. All those usual connections that people feel — ties to loved ones, to God, to creation — all of that would have gone dark for them. Their Savior was gone. Dead. Buried.
We might even say that the “dark night” taught by St. John of the Cross was their experience that first holy Saturday.
That extreme absence of Jesus goes beyond what we are normally able to imagine. Hopefully all of us have had moments where God felt almost tangibly close to us. That sense of His loving presence is deeply comforting and gives us assurance when such times go back to normal.
That more normal life is when we just kind of know that God is with us without feeling His presence very much. Perhaps this happens when we appreciate something of His amazing creation or when we are at church during Mass and a thought from the readings strikes us with some depth. We don’t feel His presence so much as we enjoy a new intellectual insight and assurance that He Is.
And most everyone has times when God seems miles and miles away, off paying attention to something and someone else, but not us. Even then, however, we do have an unconscious sense of Him, although we may not realize it unless it disappears.
The dark night experience can include the disappearance of that unconscious sense of Him being around. The emptiness and feeling of disconnectedness can be total, including even a loss of the sense of a common humanity. Whether that is part of it or not, the worst is the void within, a dark space and a thought that God not only is not near, but that He doesn’t even exist, so there is no hopeful feeling that He will come near again.
That deep vacuum seemingly empty of God was what came upon St. Therese of Lisieux  the last few months of her life. She was severely tempted to lose her faith altogether. She had wondered how atheists could possibly not believe in God who seemed to her to be everywhere. This experience helped her understand that and also why people could commit suicide — which had puzzled her as well. She expressed her understanding of both as she went through that great inner darkness.
Her dark night had a purpose beyond helping her comprehend difficult things. When Therese was in the midst of her night, someone told her they had dreamed about her. She was behind a door and the dreamer wanted to go in and see her. She was told not to interrupt — because Therese was being made beautiful.
Hearing about that other person’s dream helped Therese take hope as she kept breathing in and out and kept believing in the One who seemed absent to the point of not existing at all. 
We can surmise that the deep aloneness experienced by Jesus’ disciples was somehow necessary for them too. We prepare for Easter with 40 days of sacrifice. They were prepared in just a wrenching couple of days for His resurrection.
When we suffer from loneliness, we can take assurance that God can use our great sadness to remake us beautifully.
But whenever we realize that someone is lonely, it is a great kindness to visit, to send cards, make phone calls and definitely to keep them in our prayers every day. Loneliness always has at least a touch of God-as-being-absent. Whether it is a small or great emptiness, it hurts, and prayers can help.
Let us remember Holy Saturday — a sometimes-forgotten or passed over day between Good Friday and Easter — as we pray for everyone who is experiencing some of the same sorrow felt by our brothers and sisters in Christ those many years ago.