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Cross to Saint
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History of Saturday Devotion to Mary

 

Devoting Saturday to the devotion of Mary is not new. It is a custom which originated from the belief that Jesus appeared to His mother Mary on the Saturday after His death. This first appearance of Jesus to the Blessed Mother Mary was an act of honor and respect for His mother who was always devoted and unwavering in her faith in Jesus from the Annunciation through the moments she spent at the foot of the cross of Christ. Mary responded with her fiat (yes) to be the mother of God at the Annunciation and “yes” to be the mother of mankind in response to the request by her divine Son at the foot of the Cross. Her great fiat to God’s will is certainly a virtue which we try to emulate and therefore recognize as part of our Marian devotion.

We see this devotion in practice within the liturgy of the Mass in which prayers during the Mass are directed toward Mary as the Church invokes her, the mother of grace, as our intercessor. Early evidence of Saturday liturgical prayer devoted to Mary has been associated with the contributions of a Benedictine monk in the 8th century, Alcuin. He wrote 6 models for the liturgy, one for each day of the week with 2 of them devoted to Mary.

 The role and importance of devotion to Mary in the lives of Catholics was addressed by Pope Paul VI in 1974 in his encyclical “Marialis Cultus” – Apostolic Exhortation for the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The pope reaffirmed in this document the belief of the Church that the devotion to Mary can not be separated from our worship during the liturgy of the Mass which is the central worship of Jesus Christ. He pointed to Mary as the model who exemplifies the most perfect characteristics and virtues of the Church in faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. Mary is therefore, both an example and teacher of divine worship and perfect spiritual life. Christians recognized the role of Mary as our spiritual model from the beginning of Christianity. Pope Paul VI further cited St. Ambrose in the 4th century who recognized the significance of Mary in the life of the Church when he prayed: “May the heart of Mary be in each Christian to proclaim the greatness of the Lord; may her spirit be in everyone to exult in God”.

As faithful Catholics we are encouraged to rediscover the wonderful devotions to Mary which have been practiced over the 2000 years since she stood at the foot of the Cross. As Mary intercedes in bringing us so many graces through the merits of her Son, it is only appropriate that we honor her in her role as the mother of Our Lord and Savior. Let us continue to recognize the role of our dear Blessed Mother in bringing us to her Son and offer some special act of devotion especially on Saturday. We can show our love, respect, and gratitude to Mary in prayer and by wearing and displaying a Miraculous Medal in her honor.

 

 

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