Kolbe Center 3/30/24

Holy Saturday & the First Saturday of the World

Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

On this Holy Saturday, it is good for us to reflect on the profound connection between the First Saturday of the world, the Saturday of Our Lord’s “rest” in the tomb, and the immaculacy of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Blessed Mother.  Outside of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, it is widely believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in Original Sin and that She was not Immaculate.  Those who hold this view, however, read the Bible outside of the living communion of the Church, whose liturgical prayers and sacred icons, as well as the writings of her greatest commentators on Holy Scripture, have always recognized the immaculate purity of the Holy Theotokos.

It is sad to meet Christians who see no contradiction in holding that Our Lord Jesus Christ took flesh from a Woman whose flesh was tainted and defiled by sin.  To the classic question, “If you were God, and You could make Your Mother, would You make her tainted or immaculate?” they have no reasonable answer.  The very title used by the Archangel Gabriel to greet Our Blessed Mother (Greek - kecharitomene - “you who have been made full of grace”) seems perfectly calculated to anticipate and refute the impious notion that Our Lord would have become incarnate in a tainted vessel. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church drew a parallel between the first Adam whose body was formed from the “virgin earth” in the first created world, and the body of the Last Adam, whose Body was formed from the Virgin Mary, beginning the New Creation in Christ.  Indeed, if Our Lord Jesus Christ took flesh from a tainted vessel, then His Humanity would have been less noble than that of the first Adam.  How could He “through Whom all things were made” assume a human nature less noble than that of the first Adam whom He created in His image?

But if it is impious to assert that God became man in a tainted vessel, it is also impious to assert that God allowed disease and deformity to exist before Original Sin—and all the more so to assert, as theistic evolution does, that God deliberately used millions of years of death and deformity to produce His handiwork, and even to evolve the bodies of the first human beings!  In contrast to this impious notion, the living communion of saints has always held that the first created world reflected the perfect beauty, wisdom, and goodness of God before sin entered the world.  In the liturgy of St. Bridget, dating back to the fourteenth century, the Bridgettine Sisters pray:

Virgin Mary,
we know that in you the design and perfection willed by God
have come to be.
As He foresaw you,
so He has perfectly created you.
And of all His creation,
you most please Him.

And again:

God's creation of the world and all it contains
took place in the instant of his will's expression;
and with that design and perfection foreseen by him.
Yet there remained still uncreated
another work of creation which would surpass what he had already done.
You, Mary, are, as it were, another world,
a world which God foresaw with greater joy,
a world the Angels were more pleased to contemplate,
a world of more benefit to those of good will
than the whole earth and all it contains.
Mary, we may see in God's act of creation and in all created things
an image of your creating.

These prayers reflect the sensus fidelium that the perfect beauty of the first created world was exemplified in the perfect beauty of Eve, the last creative work of God, which was in turn a foreshadowing of the perfect beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Second Eve. It is a principle of Catholic philosophy that “the first in intention is the last in execution,” and, in the light of this principle, we can see that Eve—the last creative work of God before the end of the creation period—exemplified and summed up in herself the beauty that God had diffused throughout the first created world.  This explains the intimate link between “the Sabbath rest of the Lord”—on the first Saturday of the world—and the perfect beauty of Eve, fully realized only in the Second Eve, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is because of this link that Jewish tradition personifies the Sabbath as a Queen, a tradition that finds its fulfillment in the Catholic tradition of honoring the queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, and especially on the “First Saturday” of every month.

 “I Am Your God Who for Your Sake have Become Your Son”

In both Novus Ordo and traditional communities of the Roman Rite throughout the world, the Office of Readings for this Holy Saturday confirms the traditional reading of Genesis in a most powerful way, not only in regard to the first created world and the first Eve as a type of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also in regard to literal historical reality of the “first Adam,” as the especially beloved of the Lord, the “first man,” to whom Our Lord says, “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.” As we meditate on these beautiful words in the Office of Readings, taken from an ancient homily, let us thank God for the gift of supernatural faith by which we believe what God has revealed about both the creation and redemption of the world.  And let us ask St. Adam and St. Eve to intercede for us, asking the New Eve to obtain for us the complete restoration of the true doctrine of creation as the foundation of our Faith and the only firm foundation for a culture of life:

Something strange is happening — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and Hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, He who is both God and the Son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone, ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the Cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in Paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly Paradise. I will not restore you to that Paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The Bridal Chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Yours in Christ Our Risen Lord, through the Holy Theotokos, in union with St. Joseph,

Hugh Owen

P.S. Our annual leadership retreat will take place from August 25 to August 31 at the Apostolate for Family Consecration Retreat Center in Bloomingdale, Ohio.  For more information and to register, please email me at

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button