Saturday, June 19, 1999
Saturday, June 19:
Eleventh Saturday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saint Romuald, Abbot and Religious Founder and Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
Green or White vestments
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10
Psalms: Psalm 34: 8-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 6: 24-34
SAINT ROMUALD, ABBOT AND RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
This saint of the tenth century, Saint Romuald was known for submitting totally to God's Will. He relished solitude all his life and died the same way while in prayer at the age of 76. Born into nobility in Ravenna, Italy in 951, he entered the Benedictine Monastery after witnessing the death of his father in a duel with an adversary. While there he rebuked his fellow monks who had grown lax in observing the rule, provoking their wrath. Frustrated that he could not totally fulfill God's will in this monastery that had traded sanctity for the world, the flesh and the devil, he received permission to move on to Venice where he obediently submitted to the life of a hermit, learning under a master hermit. He traveled throughout Italy preaching the strictness of adhering to God's Will and establishing hermitages and monasteries that would be in compliance with the strict Benedictine Rule. It was also during this time that satan assaulted him relentlessly, causing him to go into a "dark night of the soul", but he never gave up faith and when he emerged the stronger he desired to evangelize the faith as a missionary in Hungary. However, every time he stepped foot in that country, he became seriously sick. Finally, after several attempts, he realized it was not God's Will that he be a foreign missionary. Thus he returned to his homeland and place of birth and in 1012 founded the Camaldolese Order of Hermits. After the Order was well on its way, he set out to found more monasteries for the Order but died in the solitude of his cell at the monastery of Val di Castro in 1027.
OBSERVANCE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY ON SATURDAYS
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."