THE OFFICE OF TENEBRAE is an ancient order of worship conducted on the final days of Holy Week, in commemoration of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ for the sin of the world.
The word tenebrae is Latin and means “darkness.” Throughout the Rite of Tenebrae, the candles in the church are extinguished and the light in the sanctuary gradually fades until only a single candle, a symbol of our Lord, remains. Toward the end of the Service this candle is removed, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil. At the very last, a loud noise is made, the strepitus, symbolizing the earthquake which took place at the time of Christ’s death and at the time of His resurrection. The candle is then returned to its place as a witness to the Savior’s triumph for us. By the light of this candle all depart in silence.
In preparation for Tenebrae, please meditate quietly and prayerfully on the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR INIQUITIES; UPON HIM WAS THE PUNISHMENT THAT MADE US WHOLE, AND BY HIS BRUISES WE ARE HEALED.” Isaiah 53:5