One of the beautiful options offered in the Liturgy of the Hours is the choice of celebrating a ‘Saturday Memoria’ of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This isn’t a specific Office, such as the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary – such Offices have their own psalmody and antiphons. Rather, the normal Saturday psalmody is prayed but after this, from the Scripture reading onward, the Saturday Memoria is prayed. This offers choices of specific readings from Scripture and specific antiphons, intercessions and concluding prayers. There is, of course, no evening Memoria – for Saturdays, the evening prayer is Evening Prayer I of the Sunday.
Making use of the Saturday Memoria is a lovely way of reminding ourselves of the devotion of the Church toward the Mother of God, outwith Her specific feasts. Of course, the Church also dedicates Saturdays generally as Our Lady’s day – and for this reason, the Mass on a Saturday morning is often celebrated in Her honour, with the priest vested in blue.
I think the beauty of this Saturday Memoria is that is allows one to keep in touch with authentic Marian devotion in the course of the official prayer of the Church, which is precisely what the Liturgy of the Hours is.
Writing in his beautiful encyclical ‘Mother of the Redeemer – on the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the pilgrim Church’ in March 1987, Pope John Paul II offered this –
“As Virgin and Mother, Mary remains for the Church a ‘permanent model’.. Mary, present in the mystery of Christ, remains constantly present in the mystery of the Church, for the Church, too, is ‘called mother and virgin’ .. It can be said that from Mary the Church also learns her own motherhood.. Given Mary’s relationship to the Church as an exemplar, the Church is close to Her and seeks to become like Her.. Mary is thus present in the mystery of the Church as a model.” (parae.42-44)
Consequently, then, the Saturday Memoria is one small way of reminding ourselves of this role and function of the Church, called to imitate Mary not only as the God-Bearer (‘Theotokos’) but as the one who gives birth to Christ anew in hearts and in souls; and prayer, needless to say, is central in achieving this.
The Saturday Memoria helps us to keep Mary ‘constantly present in the mystery of the Church’, as the Holy Father notes.
If Mary is our Mother, then the prayers addressed to Her by the Church are those of little children – and, like all mothers, the Blessed Virgin both hears and attends to those prayers, for love of Her Son – Who gives Her this task – and of us as Her children in the order of grace.
On this Saturday, and every day, may we fly into the arms of this most welcoming and loving Mother, safe and secure close to Her Immaculate Heart, and remaining there always.