The Naturalness of Devotion to Mary.
The Twenty-Seventh Saturday of Ordinary Time; or, the Saturday Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Lessons from the primary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Joel 4: 12-21.
• Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 11-12.
• Luke 11: 27-28.
When a Mass for the memorial is taken, lessons from the feria as above, or any lessons from the common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Fourth Class Feria of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.
Lessons from the common "Salve, sancta Parens…" of the Blessed Virgin, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Ecclesiasticus 24: 23-31.
[or 24: 14-16.]
• [Gradual] Benedicta et venerábilis es…*
• Luke 11: 27-28.
10:57 AM 10/12/2019 — These two short verses from Luke’s Gospel are often read on feasts of the Mother of God. I presume they are offered to us today simply because it’s Saturday, a day which, for centuries, has been set aside for prayer to the Mother of God, even though that wouldn’t become an official practice until the decree of Pope Saint Pius X in 1905, in which he offered us several indulgences for doing so. I seriously doubt that anyone intended that these brief verses would be the subject of a homily, as they seem to be read on half of the feasts of the Mother of God. But maybe we should reflect on them.
We don’t know who this unknown woman is who shouted to our Lord from the crowd, but we certainly know what she’s feeling and why she calls out to Him. She is just like us when we encounter someone wonderful and accomplished, and think to ourselves, “Your mother must be so proud!” Of course, that sentence is sometimes used in sarcasm, but that’s clearly not the case here. But isn’t it interesting how this unknown woman prefigures two thousand years of Catholic devotion.
Jesus only mentions His Mother once, and that’s while He’s hanging on the cross. During the whole of the rest of his public life he never speaks of Her; yet, this unnamed woman, watching and hearing our Blessed Lord, is naturally drawn, without any prompting from Him or anyone else, to imagine what sort of woman His Mother might be. It’s safe to say that only a woman would think of that, and even more likely that she’s a mother herself.
The lesson for us is that true devotion to our Blessed Lord—true attention to the message of the Gospel He brings us—will naturally draw us to think of the Mother of our Lord Who is, as our Lord Himself said as He hung upon the Cross, our Mother, also. And conversely, true devotion to Christ’s Mother will inexorably lead us back to Her Son. The lesson this unknown woman in the crowd teaches is that devotion to the Mother of God is not something the Catholic Church invented; it comes naturally to anyone who, in sincerity of heart, truly listens to our Lord.
* The Gradual is non-Scriptural: "Blessed and venerable art Thou, O Virgin Mary: Who without blemish to Thy maidenhood, wert found to be the Mother of the Saviour. O Virgin, Mother of God, He Whom the whole world cannot contain, enclosed Himself in Thy womb and became Man."