Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN Saturdays, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SPEAKING of ....., The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

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

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

2 thoughts on “Thought for the Day – 3 August – Saturday Devotions in Honour of Our Lady

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s