Why Saturday Is Dedicated to Our Lady
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
We know that Friday is the day that reminds us of the death of Our Lord, and Sunday recalls His Resurrection. The question rises: Why is Saturday dedicated to Our Lady? I received the following information that I pass on to you and then comment on it afterward.
Our Lady alone maintained faith in the Resurrection
Devotion to Our Lady received a strong boost at the beginning of the 10th century with the monastic reform that gave shape to Medieval Civilization.
After that epoch it became the general custom to dedicate Saturday to Our Lady. St. Hugh, Abbot of Cluny, ordered that in the abbeys and monasteries of his Order the Office should be sung and a Mass celebrated in honor of Mary Most Holy on Saturdays. A special Mass was composed in her honor for those occasions. To the regular Divine Office, Pope Urban II added the Small Office of Our Lady to be sung on Saturdays.
There are many reasons why Saturday should be dedicated to the Most Holy Virgin. The best known grew from the particular devotion the medieval man had to the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospels tell us that after the death of Our Lord, the Apostles, disciples and Holy Women did not believe in the Resurrection, even though Our Lord had predicted it various times.
Thus, from the hour that Our Lord died on the Cross on Good Friday until the Sunday of the Resurrection, only Our Lady believed in His Divinity and, therefore, only she had perfect faith. For, as St. Paul says: “Without the resurrection our faith would be vain.” On that Saturday, therefore, on the whole earth only she personified the Catholic Church. For this reason medieval man honored her especially on this day.
Comments of Prof. Plinio:
This explanation could not be more beautiful. I believe, however, it is an exaggeration to say that the Holy Women and the Apostle St. John lost the faith on that day. But they did not have faith in the Resurrection.
The Holy Women could not conceive of the Ressurection of Our Lord
Despite the fact that Our Lord spoke of His Resurrection several times, they did not fully comprehend it. Indeed, a resurrection is such an extraordinary thing, so opposed to the natural order, that the human mind is not inclined to believe in it. Even though Our Lord had raised Lazarus from death – and they had witnessed that miracle – they did not realize that the One who had resurrected Lazarus could resurrect Himself.
It is almost inconceivable for a man to raise a dead man to life; yet it is more difficult to imagine a dead man resurrecting himself. How can a man – through his own power – rise from the deep abyss of death and say to his own soul: “Now, re-enter your body and be one with it”? This demands a much greater power than the one needed to resurrect a dead man. It is one victory on top of another, one splendor multiplied by another, a thing, normally speaking, that the human mind cannot imagine.
We can understand, then, how those who surrounded Our Lady at the foot of the Cross – St. John, the Holy Women and a few others such as Nicodemus – would also accompany her to her house in that hour of supreme sorrow. But they did not truly believe that Christ would rise from death. Our Lady knew and trusted that He would rise from death; the others did not.
Even though they had a supernatural instinct telling them that the history of Our Lord had not yet ended, and that a final word remained to be said, it was only the presence of Our Lady that confirmed them in this instinct, not their faith in the Resurrection. Without this instinct and without Our Lady they would have dispersed completely. When the Gospels report the reaction of St. Mary Magdalene talking to Our Lord after He had risen, they show that she was not expecting Him to rise.
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