Saturday, September 26, 1998
Saturday September 26: 25th Saturday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyr and Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
Green or red or white vestments
First Reading: Ecclesiastes 11: 9-10; 12: 1-8
Psalms: Psalm 90: 1, 2-6, 12-14, 17
Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 43-45
Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs
These Syrian-born twin brothers Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian were both physicians who treated the sick for free and became well-loved by all for their total dedication to God's children, especially at Egaea in Cilicia where they lived. Because of their fame and good works, they were singled out by the vile Emperor Diocletian and incarcerated by the Roman governor of Cilicia Lycias ungergoing numerous tortures before they were both beheaded around around the very end of the 3rd Century. In 528 Pope Felix IV dedicated a former Roman pagan temple to the two holy physicians, renaming it the Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. They, along with Saint Luke are considered the patrons of doctors, dentists and druggists. These two saints truly epitomize the words in the Book of Sirach, 38: 1-8 "Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was Who established his profession. From God the doctor has wisdom and the king provides for his sustenance. His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished and gives him access to those in authority. God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect; was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn His power? He endows men with the knowledge to glory in His mighty works, through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; thus God's creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth" and 12-14, "Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeches God that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure." We pray that doctors everywhere today will take to heart their vocation as God-given and rely on Him in all things and treat their patients with love and mercy, calling upon the intercession of their patrons Cosmas and Damian.
Observance of 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). 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."