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Mary on a Saturday

Mary on a Saturday

The ‘Optional Memoria of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a Saturday‘ is a normal feature of Catholic life…  But why a Saturday in particular?  The question is addressed in the Directory on Popular Piety, chapter V.  The origins of the memoria (around 1200 years ago) are ‘unknown’.  Its observance today, however, is not simply continued ‘because we’ve always done it’.  The Congregation for Divine Worship has stated that the memorial emphasises certain values,

 “to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive: it is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that great Saturday on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection; it is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ; it is a sign that the “Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.”

Just as each Friday we remember Christ’s passion and death and on Sunday we celebrate the resurrection, so too does Saturday have its own distinctive character.  It is a day of prayerful expectation; a day for following our Blessed Virgin Mother in her example of unswerving faith and hope.

On that first Holy Saturday, Mary must have walked by faith and hope alone.  Now we, each Saturday, are invited to imitate something of that faith and hope.  To develop a distinctive spiritual character to Saturday, we need to ponder the gifts of faith and hope that are ours, to thank God for them and to pray that he might strengthen us in those theological virtues, that we  might be faithful disciples, who are found ready to meet the bridegroom when he comes.

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