31 March 2018


Why, instead of calling Mass on (many) Saturdays 'Our Lady on Saturday', why do we not say Our Lady on Sabbath? The Latin for Saturday is still Sabbatum; and that word still does mean Sabbath. Why can we not call today the Great and Holy Sabbath? We should steer clear of the Protestant notion that Sunday is the Sabbath: it is not; it the Dies Dominica, the Lord's Day, the great celebration of the Creation and Resurrection. Saturday is still the Sabbath; while S Paul's warnings against identifying ourselves with the Old People who define their group by 'sabbatizing' (instead of being with the New Easter People) do remain valid, it is also true that, as Pius XI said, we are all spiritually Semites, and the Sabbath remains worthy of great respect even if not of being a sign of our exclusive group-definition. And how better to respect it than by the Western tradition, going back at least to the Carolingian reforms and the time of Alcuin the Englishman, of using the Sabbath to mark the Great Daughter of Sion, the highest of creatures, our blessed Lady. The statutes of all our medieval cathedrals provided most amply for this, and it even survives the post-Conciliar reforms as an option.

Typologically, The Sabbath Rest reminds us that today, on the Greatest and Holiest Sabbath, God the Word rested from his labours before his new deed of creation on the Eighth Day; and Mary's own eschatological rest prefigures the Sabbath Rest to which God's pilgrim people is journeying (Hebrews 4:1-11).


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Our Lady was the only person on earth who had faith in her Son's promises on this day. As the moon shines at night with reflected light from the hidden sun, so for these few hours of darkness she was the Church's sole custodian of hope that Christ our Light would rise again from the world of the dead.

It's surely right to deem Sunday to be the first day of the week, as the Gospels do and even secular calendars did until recently. So it s dedicated to the work of the Lord, the work of re-creation, which is why we are obliged to attend the Great and Holy Sacrifice. Yet the Church does seem to apply some of the old Sabbath rest thinking to Sunday, in that we must refrain from "servile work". That law does not apply to Saturday. And Sunday obligation has typically been preached under the heading of keeping the third commandment. Is that a mistake and source of confusion? If so, how would keeping the Sabbath apply to Saturdays?

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Mark well that in the Catholic Mass, Abraham is our Patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the lofty thought which that fact expresses. It is a movement with which we Christians can have nothing to do. No, no, I say to you it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible. Through Christ and in Christ we are the spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we [Christians] are all Semites

Such a good, true, and beautiful statement by Pope Pius IX

Maureen Lash said...

Is it really a Protestant notion? Items 192 and 193 in the Catechism (the old one, not Graf von und zu Schoenborn's oeuvre) state:
'The third commandment is "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day"
By the third commandment we are commanded to keep Sunday holy.'

And such hyper-protestant groups as the Seventh Day Adventists claim that keeping Sunday as the Lord's day is a Catholic corruption.

Randolph Crane said...

Sunday is the New Shabbat. This is sound Catholic doctrine, supported by S. Augustinus and S. Thomas Aquinas, and many, many more.

I don't understand the craze to Semitize our Catholic traditions.

There are Protestant groups which still celebrate Saturday as Shabbat and not Sunday, but the dies Dominica IS the Shabbat.

If we would call Saturday "Shabbat", we must also abolish all the other names for the weekdays and go back to "dies lunae". Some languages have retained that. German e. g. calls it "Montag" (Day of the Moon; which actually should be Mondtag).

William Tighe said...

"And such hyper-protestant groups as the Seventh Day Adventists claim that keeping Sunday as the Lord's day is a Catholic corruption."

If for "a Catholic corruption" such sectarians were to substitute "an Apostolic 'corruption,'" they would be right; but then ...

Banshee said...

The point is that there is Sunday as the New Sabbath, and there is Sunday as the Eighth Day, which is the Lord's Day and the day of the new Creation. The Sabbath is still Day Seven, the covenant oath day.

In Greece, Friday is Paraskeve (Preparation Day), Saturday is Savvato (Sabbath), and Sunday is Kyriaki (the Lord's Day).

In Irish they split the difference. Friday is De hAoine (Fasting Day), Saturday is De Sathairn (Saturn Day), and Sunday is De Domhnaigh (the Lord's Day).