Thought for the Day – 3 August – Saturday Devotions in Honour of Our Lady

Thought for the Day – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Marian Saturdays

Speaking of:  Our Lady

Saturday Devotions in Honour of Our Lady
Part One
By Sr M Jean Frisk SSM

Historical Background of the Saturdays in Honour of Mary

To dedicate Saturday in honour of Mary is an ancient custom.   It is based on a legendary account that Jesus appeared to Mary on the Saturday, the day after His death.   He did so to reward her for her steadfast faith in His divinity, which did not waver under the Cross.   Another strain of devotional thought explains that Divine Wisdom, becoming flesh of the Virgin Mary, rested (Saturday=Sabbath=day of rest) in Mary as on a bed.part one sat devotiosns in honour of our lady part one 3 aug 2019.jpg

One of the oldest customs traced to honouring Mary on Saturday in the Church of Rome, took place on the Saturday before “Whitsunday” [White Sunday].   The newly-baptised members of the Church were led from St John’s baptistry of the Lateran to Mary’s great shrine on the Esquilin, St Mary Major [built under Pope Liberius 352-66].   St John of Damascus’ († 754) writings testify to the celebration of Saturdays dedicated to Mary in the Church of the East.   The liturgical books of the ninth and tenth centuries contain Masses in honour of Mary on Saturday.

The Dictionary of Mary states:dict of mary.jpg

Hence, Saturday acquired its great Marian tone and the existing fast on that day became associated with Mary.   Today, the strongest trace of Mary’s relationship with Saturday occurs in the Liturgy.   Saturday is dedicated to Mary by a Mass or Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Through these liturgical acts, Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer.

This liturgical attribution of Saturday to Mary was largely the work of Alcuin (735-804), the Benedictine monk who was “Minister of Education” at the court of Charlemagne and who contributed in a decisive manner to the Carolingian liturgical reform.   Alcuin composed six formularies for Votive (that is, devotional) Masses – one for each day of the week.   And he assigned two formularies to Saturday in honour of Our Lady.   The practice was quickly and joyously embraced by both clergy and laity.   St Cardinal Peter Damian († 1072) fostered the Marian Saturday celebration as well.

The custom was specially furthered during the time of the crusades.   Peter of Amiens preached the first crusade and started out with a vanguard for Constantinople on a Saturday, March 8, 1096.   Pope Urban II admonished the faithful to pray the hours of the liturgy in honour of the most holy Virgin for the crusaders.   At the Synod of Clermont the year before, he had prescribed priests to do so.

The custom of dedicating Saturday Masses to Mary was fostered specially in the cloister churches of the various orders and quickly spread throughout the whole Church.   In addition to the liturgical celebrations on Saturdays, other customs kept step – especially works of neighbourly love.   For example, King Louis of France († on the last crusade) fed over one hundred of the poor at his palace.   He ate with them and sent them away richly-laden with gifts.

The great theologians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Sts Bernard, Thomas and Bonaventure explained the dedication of Saturdays to Mary by pointing to the time of Christ’s rest in the grave.   Everyone else had abandoned Christ, only Mary continued to believe.   This was her day!

A Dominican missal of the fifteenth century listed additional reasons in a hymn: -Saturday is the day when creation was completed.   Therefore it is also celebrated as the day of the fulfilment of the plan of salvation, which found its realisation through Mary. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, so it seemed appropriate to name the day preceding as Mary’s day.

In the centuries to follow, the Marian Saturdays were expressed in several devotions. This was the day the faithful selected to go on pilgrimages.   Sodalities held their meetings on Saturdays and called them Fraternity Saturdays or Sodality Saturdays.   The seven dolors or sorrows of Mary were commemorated on seven consecutive Saturdays. The fifteen Saturdays before the liturgy in honour of Mary as Queen of the Rosary [October 7] recalled the fifteen decades of the rosary.   In some areas this was the day that the crops and harvests were blessed and celebrated.   A German manuscript from 1673 states:

‘The people of Hamingen have from ancient times vowed to hold a procession to this church every Saturday from the feast of St Gregory to the feast of St James [to ask] for protection for the fruits of the fields and against the storms and hail.   Their descendants failed to do so to their great misfortune because the hail did great damage.   After they renewed the practice, no one heard further of great damage.’

The growing devotion in honour of the Immaculate Conception by the Franciscans contributed to furthering the Marian Saturdays.   In 1633 the Order’s Chapter determined that a Holy Mass in honour of this mystery was to be celebrated.

Over time, it became customary for Catholics everywhere to consider Saturday as Mary’s day just as Sunday is the Lord’s Day.   Many of the faithful commemorated the day by attending Mass, receiving the Eucharist and praying the rosary as a family or attending an evening devotion at the Church, as well as performing works of neighbourly love in many forms.

Vatican II with its liturgical reforms did not abolish the practice of Masses in honour of Our Lady.   In fact, it increased them and additions were made to expand the number of the liturgies.   In 1986 A new sacramentary and lectionary were published with forty-six options for votive Masses in honour of Our Lady.

To be continued/…..

Mary, Faithful Mother, Pray for Us!mother mary pray for us 3 aug 2019 part one speakingofmary.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN Saturdays, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The SOCIAL TEACHING of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 3 August – Marian Gems

Quote/s of the Day – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Marian Saturdays

Marian Gems

“Mary is so holy
that she is the perfect model
of all the virtues
to all mankind.”

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Churchmary is so holy that she is the perfect - 3 aug 2019

“Mary was placed by God
in the centre of history
and we can say,
that everything was made
through her
and with her
and in her.”

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Doctor of the Churchmary was placed by god in the centre of history - st bernard - 3 aug 2019

“Mary is the divine Page
on which God the Father
wrote the Word of God, His Son.
Let us draw near to her and read her!”

St Albert the Great (1200-1280)
Doctor of the Churchmary is the divine page on which god the father - st albert the great 3 aug 2019

“The single richest treasure in the Vatican is the Rosary.”

Bl Pope Pius IX (1792-1878)the single richest treasure in the vatican is the rosary bl pope pius ix 3 aug 2019

“Her Heart is so loving
that in comparison to it,
the heart of any other mother
is a piece of ice.”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)her heart is so loving - st john vianney 3 aug 2019

“It can be said, that the Rosary is a compendium of our holy religion.”

St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)it can be said that the rosary is a compendium - st anthony mary claret 3 aug 2019


One Minute Reflection – 3 August – ‘..the archives of truth written in letters of blood…’

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

And his disciples came and took the body and buried it and they went and told Jesus. ... Matthew 14:12and his disciples came and took the body - 3 august 2019 st john the baptist.jpg

REFLECTION – “Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth,” (Jn 18:37).   The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord,” (2 Tim 1:8).   In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St Paul before his judges.   We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men,” (Acts 24:16).

The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it.   This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds.   Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known: “All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation” (Vatican II).

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith – it means bearing witness even unto death. the martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity.   He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.   He endures death through an act of fortitude…  The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs.   They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood…:the church has painstakingly collected - ccc 2472-2474 3 aug 2019 st john the baptist matthew 12 1-12

“I bless You for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among Your martyrs….  You have kept Your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise You, I bless You, I glorify You through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son” (St. Polycarp) … CCC #2471-2474lord god you have considered me worth - st polycarp - prayer before martyrdom 9 july 2019

PRAYER – Almighty God, teach us to bear witness to Christ, Your only-begotten Son, who died for our sins. May each moment of our lives radiate the truth of the Word, Christ our Lord.   Through the intercession of our holy Mother, the Channel of all Graces, may our strength be such, that we would bear witness even unto death.   We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mary channel of grace - pray for us - 30 may 2018.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 3 August – Mary Our Strength

Our Morning Offering – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and a Marian Saturday

Mary Our Strength
By Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
(Pontiff 1939-1958)

O Virgin, fair as the moon,
delight of the angels and saints in heaven,
grant that we may become like you
and that our souls may receive a ray of your beauty,
which does not decline with the years
but shines forth into eternity.
O Mary, sun of heaven,
restore life where there is death
and enlighten spirits, where there is darkness.
Turn your countenance to your children
and radiate on us your light and your fervour.
O Mary, powerful as an army,
grant victory to our ranks.
We are very weak
and our enemy rages with uttermost conceit.
But under your banner
we are confident of overcoming him. ….
Save us, O Mary,
fair as the moon,
bright as the sun,
awe-inspiring as an army set in battle array
and sustained not by hatred
but by the ardour of love.
Amenmary our strength by pope pius XII - 3 august 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 3 August – Saint Waltheof of Melrose O.Cist. (c 1095-1159)

Saint of the Day – 3 August – Saint Waltheof of Melrose O.Cist. (c 1095-1159) Monk, Abbot, apostle of charity, mystic – born in c 1095 in England and died on 3 August 1160 of natural causes.   Also known as Waldef or Waldeve.   Noted for his severe, self-imposed austerities, endless kindness to the poor and a gentle hand with the brothers under his supervision.   He received visions of Christ during the feasts of Christmas, Passiontide, and Easter and had visions of heaven and hell.   St Waltheof was a Miracle worker who is reported to have multiplied food and miraculously healed the sick, especially the blind. Patronages – Melrose Abbey and waltheof statue.jpg

St Waltheof was of noble birth, (he was the son of Earl Simon of Northampton and Matilda, the great niece of William the Conqueror).   He was born in England but grew up in the Scottish court, due to his mother’s second marriage after his father’s death.  He could have become a court cleric but chose the monastic life, becoming an Austin canon at Nostell in Yorkshire.   In 1134, he became prior of Kirkham.   In 1140 he was a favourite to become Archbishop of York but King Stephen prevented this because he felt he would be too sympathetic to waltheof

In his Life of Waltheof, Jocelin of Furness writes:   “Waltheof’s face was the faithful interpreter of the inner man and gave convincing evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit inhabiting his heart.   It was thin but fair except where ruddy colour infused his cheeks, soft as doves.   His handsome white hair was in keeping with his reverend and religious character.   His appearance showed grace infusing his spirit with happiness and exultation, it expressed the fact, that the lord treasured him and induced all who saw and spoke to him to hold him in affectionate reverence.”

St Waltheof wanted to bring the Cistercians at Rievaulx and the Austins at Kirkham together but the canons objected strongly.   In 1149 he became abbot of Melrose, taking over from someone who had a notorious temper.   St Waltheof developed a reputation for great kindness, gentleness and humility.   He went on to found monasteries at Cultram and Kinross.   In 1159 he was asked to be bishop of St Andrews but he refused as he knew death was near.

Jocelin also recalls that Abbot Waltheof was prone to take a nap whilst riding his horse, ‘Brother Grizzel’.   On such occasions the horse would pick his steps carefully and slowly, lest he should trip but once the abbot was awake he would gallop swiftly, overtaking other steeds.   Following Waltheof’s death, the horse was distraught and simply wasted away through sadness.

It has been said that he strove so greatly for perfection, that his confessors often found him irksome.

St Waltheof was never formally canonised but a popular cult grew around him until the Reformation.   He is buried at the Cistercian chapter house at Melrose Abbey.

It is recorded in the Chronicle of Melrose that:

“The tomb of our pious father, sir Waltheof, the second abbot of Melrose, was opened by Enguerrand, of good memory, the bishop of Glasgow and by four abbots called in for this purpose and his body was found entire and his vestments intact, in the twelfth year from his death, on the eleventh day before the Kalends of June [22 May].   And after the holy celebration of mass, the same bishop and the abbots whose number we have mentioned above, placed over the remains of his most holy body a new stone of polished marble. And there was great gladness, those who were present exclaiming together and saying that truly this was a man of God …”
Ruins of Melrose Abbey


Memorials of the Saints – 3 August

St Abibas
St Anthony the Roman
St Aspren of Naples
Bl Augustine Gazotich OP (1262-1323)
Bl Benno of Metz
St Dalmatius
St Euphronius of Autun
St Gamaliel
St Gaudentia
Bl Godfrey of Le Mans
Bl Gregory of Nonantula
St Hermellus
St Nicodemus
St Senach of Clonard
St Trea of Ardtree
St Waltheof of Melrose O.Cist. (c 1095-1159)

Martyrs of Vercelli – 4 saints (below)-
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
BlAndrés Avelino Gutiérrez Moral
Bl Antonio Isidoro Arrué Peiró
Bl Eleuterio Mancho López
Bl Geronimo Limón Márquez
Bl Patricio Beobide Cendoya
The Story of these around 10000 Martyrs: