Sancta Maria in Sabbato

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Our Lady's Day

Every Saturday of the Blessed Virgin Mary brings with it a fresh infusion of grace. One cannot commemorate the Immaculate Mother of God without experiencing her nearness, without inhaling the fragrance of her purity, without entering into communion with the joys, the sorrows, and the glories of her heart. I have long loved the Office and Mass de Beata (of the Blessed Virgin) on Saturday.

Ave Maria, Gratia Plena

The traditional invitatory antiphon at Matins is -- unlike other invitatory antiphons of the Divine Office -- addressed directly to the Mother of God. It is a jubilant renewal of the Angel's salutation: Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum; Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Repeated after each strophe of Psalm 94, the Venite, it becomes a kind of meditatio: the loving repetition of a message from heaven, one of inexhaustible meaning and sweetness.

Waiting, She Waited

Saturday is Our Lady's day. Ever since, waiting, she waited, -- Expectans expectavi Dominum (Psalm 39:1) -- in the awful silence of that first Great Sabbath, with all the faith and hope of the saints in ages to come like a little flame held in her heart, the Church has remembered her on Saturday.

Retrieving the Treasure

The disappearance of Saturday morning Masses in so many places and, by consequence, the loss of the weekly commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a terrible impoverishment of the Church's inner life. Even those who celebrate the Divine Office are affected; the Saturday Office of Our Lady is often neglected or forgotten. It is vital that Catholics everywhere reconnect with this age-old custom and retrieve its treasures.

A Joy that Rises like the Dawn

The particular forma vitae, or pattern of life, given me by my Bishop when I began this new mission in the Diocese of Tulsa last August 21st, reminds me that I am to live every Saturday as the Great Sabbath of Christ's resting in the tomb, united with Mary in her solitude and hope. Hidden in this is the secret of a joy that rises like the dawn.

P.S. I did not forget the commemoration of the Four Crowned Martyrs! How could I? When I lived in Rome their basilica was the preferred destination of many a passeggiata

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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