Friday
August 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 143


LITURGY for Friday and Saturday, August 18-19, 2000

Friday, August 18, 2000

    Friday August 18:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Jane de Chantal, Wife, Mother and Religious Foundress

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Ezechiel 16: 1-15, 60, 63
      Psalms: Isaiah 12: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 19: 3-12
Feast of Saint Jane de Chantal, Wife, Mother and Religious Foundress
        She was born in Dijon, France in 1572, the daughter of Benigne Fremyot, president of the parliament in Burgundy, and married at twenty to Baron Christopher de Chantal who died in 1601. Nobility and riches were there for the asking for Saint Jane Francis de Chantal, but she used them wisely for the honor and glory of God. After nine years of marriage and seven children, Jane became a widow when her husband was killed in a hunting accident. Three years later she was touched in the deepest way by a sermon of Saint Francis de Sales for it was he who she had seen in a previous vision and because of this spiritual experience, persuaded him to be her spiritual director. After securing stability for her children, she turned to religious life. Though she had a strong desire to become a Carmelite nun, Francis realized her mission lay elsewhere and through his wise counsel she, along with three other women Charlotte de Brechard, Anne Coste, and Mary Favre began the Congregation of the Visitation, dedicated to helping young girls and widows consider a traditional, contemplative religious life. Satan did all in his power to discredit this fledgling order and dissuade Jane from her appointed mission by tormenting her soul greatly but God's Will won out and the Order spread throughout France and beyond over the next three decades. Jane died on December 13 at Moulins shortly after a meeting with Queen Anne in Paris. She was buried by Lake Annecy near her dear spiritual director Francis, who had passed away nineteen years earlier. Jane was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767.


Saturday, August 19, 2000

    Saturday August 19:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint John Eudes, Priest, Religious Founder and Educator and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Ezechiel 18: 1-10, 13, 30-32
      Psalms: Psalm 51: 12-15, 18-19
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 19: 13-15
Feast of Saint John Eudes, Priest, Religious Founder and Educator
        Known for his tremendous devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, Saint John Eudes was born in 1601 in Normandy, France. The first born of seven children, John was given an excellent Catholic education by his parents who sent him to the Jesuit schools and later the Congregation of the Oratory in Paris. At the youthful age of 24 John was ordained an Oratorian priest and later became the superior general of the Order in Caen. It was a good training ground for this saint who at the age of 42 left the Oratorians so he could begin a new order - the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, dedicated to the Two Hearts with the principal purpose of fostering vocations and establishing reputable seminaries for forming virtuous future priests who would reach out to all - the sick, poor and dying included. A year later John founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity which later became the Institute of the Good Shepherd. Throughout his life, St. John Eudes preached relentlessly in the cities and seminaries. During the time of plague he spent two solid months with very little rest ministering to infirm and dying souls. He became a spiritual physician of the highest degree with total dedication and consecration to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts which became the symbol for his Order, commonly called Eudists. On August 19, 1680 this French saint died at the age of 79, his earthly mission completed.
Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
        Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue, volume 7). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

August 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 143
DAILY LITURGY