FRIDAY
February 16, 2001
volume 12, no. 47

Friday and Saturday, February 16th and 17th


Friday, February 16, 2001    Meditation

    Weekday in Ordinary Time

    Green vestments
      First Reading: Genesis 11: 1-9
      Psalms: Psalm 33: 10-15
      Gospel Reading: Mark 8: 34-39; 9: 1


Saturday, February 17, 2001    Meditation
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of the Seven Servite Founders and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or White vestments
      First Reading: Hebrews 11: 1-7
      Psalms: Psalm 145: 2-5, 10-11
      Gospel Reading: Mark 9: 2-13

Feast of the Seven Servite Founders
       There were seven concilors of Florence who founded the Servants of Mary or Servites in 1233. The best known were Saint Buonfiglio dei Monaldi and Saint Alessio de' Falconieri, who served as a lay brother all his life.The other five were also from influential families in Florence and were all members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through this association, they grew spiritually and longed for something more. Thus, under the direction and advice of their bishop, the majority became priests, forming the Servants of Mary or Servites. They adopted the Rule of Saint Augustine, wore black cassocks and strove to emulate the mendicant friars like the Franciscans and Dominicans. Their Order was officially approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1259; canonically approved by Blessed Pope Benedict XI in 1304; and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. Their feast is celebrated in Church Liturgy on February 17th. There was also a contemplative order of Servite nuns founded by two penitents of Saint Philip Benezi and a Third Order of nuns dedicating to treating the poor and sick as well as educating children. This was founded by a relative of St. Alessio's, Saint Juliana Falconieri in 1306.

Observance of theBlessed 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). 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."

February 16, 2001
volume 12, no. 47
DAILY LITURGY
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