When the Jewish Sabbath began at sunset on Good Friday and all through Saturday, Our Lady and Jesus’ disciples, including the Holy Women, were prostrate with sorrow. Amongst all of them, only the Virgin Mary fully understood Her Son’s promise of His Resurrection, keeping its unwavering hope in her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Think of all that must have transpired in the Heart and Soul of the Virgin Mother as She remembered those most dreadful hours of Her Son’s Passion. The mere thought of a beloved child, enduring such suffering and abuse, would bring to the heart of any other human mother deep pangs of grief. Imagine the sorrow of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God! How much Our Lady endured – for us!
Throughout the Sabbath, the Blessed Mother recalled the betrayal, saw again the most grievous Passion, and once more heard the mocking words that insulted and blasphemed Our Lord. Tortured and mocked from all sides, Jesus was never given a moment’s peace from the moment His Passion began. God is not mocked, but He allowed Himself to be mocked as a prophet who said that He could raise the destroyed temple in three days, mocked in His quality of Son of God, mocked as a miracle-worker who healed others but could not help Himself, mocked for His sanctity and confidence in God, mocked as the Messiah and mocked as the King of the Jews.
Loving and grieving witnesses of the Passion, Our Lady and the few who had been with Her at the Foot of the Cross must have later told the other apostles Our Lord’s last words:
To God the Father: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 
To the Good Thief: “Amen, I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
To His Virgin Mother and St. John: “Woman, behold thy son… son, behold thy Mother.” 
To Heaven: “Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? That is, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” 
Through parched lips: “I thirst.” 
For all to hear: “It is consummated.” 
To His Father once more: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.” 
As if Jesus’ cruel sufferings and Death were not enough to remember, they saw again Our Lord’s side not only pierced but opened wide by a lance, His Sacred Heart laid bare and gushing forth blood and water. For Our Lady, witnessing this last and vicious sacrilege of Her beloved Son’s Body, Simeon’s prophecy came to pass: And thy own soul a sword shall pierce that, out of many hearts, thoughts shall be revealed.
Ancilla Domini (Behold the Handmaid)
In those after-hours, the Virgin Mary would repeatedly behold Jesus’ Sacred Body removed from the Cross and the withdrawing of the cruel nails and the Crown of Thorns, feeling again His Holy Form, torn to shreds, and lying limp in Her arms. Transfixed by the uttermost sorrow, Our Lady was silent in Her anguish, but how the others must have wept at the sight of His beautiful and Holy Face, now so pale and disfigured. Relived once more was the rushed, distressing burial in a freshly-hewn and donated tomb.
Above all the deep heartache of the faithful St. John and St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostles and the Holy Women, Our Lady’s immaculate soul was crucified when Her Son was crucified - transforming the Immaculate Heart into the Sorrowful Heart of the Virgin Mother.
It was during the Passion that the Lady, full of grace, rose to the supreme and most terrible Sacrifice. Her prayer then consisted of the same words She spoke to the Angel Gabriel thirty-four years before: Ecce Ancilla Domini – that is, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word.”  During the terrible Passion and Death of Her Divine Son, the overflowing graces and virtues of this humble Maiden never allowed Her to even once doubt what the Angel said to Her long ago:
The Lord will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be King over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
City of God: The Glories and Sorrows of Mary
“I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and virtue.” In explaining these words from the Old Testament, St. Alphonsus taught, “As the Blessed Virgin is the mother of holy love and hope, so also is She the mother of faith.” 
“Hope takes its rise in faith,” the saint continued, “for God enlightens by faith to know His goodness and the promises He had made, that by this knowledge we may rise by hope to the desire of possessing Him. Mary, then, having had the virtue of faith in its highest degree, had also hope in the same degree of excellence, and this made her say with David, But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God.” 
In all of the mysterious, glorious and sorrowful events of Her life, Our Lady “stood alone, in a position apart, in her relation to the Redeemer and to His work of Redemption.”  As St. Alphonsus also taught, “the most holy Virgin had more faith than all men and angels. She saw her Son in the crib of Bethlehem, and believed Him the Creator of the world. She saw him fly from Herod, and yet believed Him the King of Kings. She saw him born and believed Him eternal. She saw Him poor and in need of food, and believed Him the Lord of the universe. She saw Him lying on straw, and believed Him omnipotent. She observed that He did not speak, and She believed Him infinite Wisdom. She heard Him weep, and believed Him the joy of Paradise. In fine, She saw Him in death, despised and crucified and, although faith wavered in others, Mary remained firm in the belief that He was God.”
It may seem that such things were effortless for the Blessed Mother because She is the Immaculate One. It is true that She was full of grace from the very first moment of Her existence, but it was through Her continual efforts and merits that grace overflowed in Her soul – making Her the aqueduct of grace for all souls. In me is all grace…
“Among the many beautiful qualities attributed by the Holy Ghost to the Blessed Virgin Mary, one stands out preeminently,” wrote St. John Eudes. “It is contained in these words of the eighty-sixth psalm, which Holy Church and her Doctors apply to the Mother of God, ‘Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God.’ ”
“Mary is indeed the great and glorious city of God, the holy city, the city of Jerusalem, the city of peace, the royal city, ‘the city of the Great King.’  The King of Kings built this city with His own hands; He exempted Her entirely from the infamous tribute of sin; He honored Her with countless great and extraordinary privileges; He enriched her with inestimable gifts and treasures and He established His first and most glorious abode within Her heart…Thou are not only the city of the great King, O Incomparable Virgin, thou art also His royal and eternal palace…Now if Mary is the palace of the King of Kings, Her Heart must be the King’s imperial throne.” 
The Virgin always cooperated with Her Spouse for “in Mary is the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Ghost; plenitude of all the interior gifts; plenitude of the gifts of Wisdom and Understanding, plenitude of the gifts of Counsel and Knowledge, plenitude of the gifts of Piety and Fortitude, and of the Fear of the Lord; plenitude of all the exterior gifts, the gifts of miracles, healing, prophecy, and of tongues.” 
St. John Eudes also testified, “St. Bernadine of Siena expressly stated that Our Lady…knew all these things in God, as in their first and universal cause…She saw God in all things, and all things in God.” This is the great gift of grace that, when cooperated with, creates great saints; and it was this great grace which mainly sustained the Virgin Mary in all the mystical and mysterious events of Her life, especially during the Lord’s Way of the Cross and His Crucifixion.
Five Mysteries in the City of God
In the Good Friday Passion and during the desolate hours in which Our Lord laid in the tomb, the faithful Virgin Mother – like Her Divine Son, throughout His Life and Death – did not abandon even one of the five means of salvation and sanctification, in order to be the holiest of models for us to follow. St. Louis Marie de Montfort reminds us that these five means are known to all and that “they are laid down in the Gospel, explained by the masters of the spiritual life, practiced by the saints, and necessary to all who wish to be saved and to attain perfection. They are: humility of heart, continual prayer, mortification in all things, abandonment to Divine Providence, and conformity to the Will of God.” 
Conceived Immaculate and always full of grace, still Our Lady carefully guarded the gifts bestowed on Her by the Holy Trinity. St. John Eudes affirmed that “the Holy Virgin’s heart exercised perpetual vigilance over Her own thoughts, words, and actions, over Her passions and inclinations, over all Her interior and exterior senses, and over all the powers of Her soul, that She might drive far away from Herself anything that could possibly displease God and to use Her faculties as perfectly and as virtuously as possible.” 
It was in Her Immaculate Heart that She pondered many things, and it was Her Immaculate Heart that was pierced by a mystical sword of sorrow.
Since all the glories of Mary are for the sake of Her Divine Son, as John Cardinal Newman once said in a sermon, the same can be said of Her sorrows. “She had lived of her Son’s life, and when He died on the Cross, She died with Him,” a holy abbot once said.  “Both Mother and Son were nailed to the Cross, the Son in the Body, the Mother in Her Heart,” exclaims St. Lawrence Justinian.  “Could not Mary die in Her Heart, as Jesus died in His Body?” St Bernard asked. 
Nevertheless, the Virgin did not perish with Her beloved Son, but it was “only by a miraculous interposition on the part of God that She did not die.” Her mission on earth was not yet fully accomplished, for the Passion and Death of Our Lord was the means by which Christ offered us Redemption and by which, in the order of grace, Our Lady became our Mother.
Our Lady’s Day
When Our Lady retired on Good Friday night, the evening of the Jewish Sabbath, She did so to occupy herself solely with the thought of her Divine Son. “Having cooperated in the Incarnation of the Son of God by the ardor of Her love, the fervor of Her desires, and the power of Her prayers, Mary’s Heart also contributed to His Resurrection…”
As the Queen of Martyrs, Our Lady followed Her Son and stood at the Cross, Her love and humility far overshadowing the public shame of being mother to the One crucified as the lowest of criminals. As Queen of Prophets, the Blessed Mother stood apart from all others for only She foresaw and kept hope in the Resurrection throughout the Sabbath. It was to the gracious Virgin Mary that the Apostles and the Holy Women turned on the Sabbath, flying to the Mother of Mercy, Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
Holy Tradition relates that Christ, having risen from dead about 3 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning, first appeared to His Virgin Mother. Scripture supports that tradition, for Our Lady was not with the Holy Women who went to Christ’s tomb on this same morning. Why was it that the faithful Mother - who stood at the Foot of the Cross, held Her deceased Son in Her arms, and hurriedly prepared Him for burial before the Sabbath began - did not return to Jesus’ sepulcher to properly anoint His Body, according to the Jewish custom? It was because not only had She anticipated His Resurrection, but She knew He had risen.
Just as the Virgin preceded Her Divine Son in historical time, so does “Lady’s Day” (Saturday) precede the Lord’s Day (Sunday). St. Thomas Aquinas explains: “Since the Resurrection took place on a Sunday, we keep holy this day instead of the Sabbath as did the Jews of old. However, we also sanctify Saturday in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary who remained unshaken in faith all day Saturday after the death of her Divine Son.” 
Not only on Holy Saturday but on each Saturday of the year, faithful Catholics might also recall these words of St. Bernard’s: “In Mary alone did the faith of the Church remain steadfast during the three days that Jesus lay in the tomb. And although everyone else wavered, She who conceived Christ in faith, kept the faith that She had once for all received from God and never lost. Thus could She wait with assured hope for the glory of the Risen Lord.”
Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart teaches us how to commemorate the death of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. At His Incarnation, Our Lady was the Lord’s first Tabernacle. During His Passion and Crucifixion, the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary became the living Altar on which the Lamb offered Himself for the sins of the world. But it was on Holy Saturday that the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart first reigned, because the Virgin Mother solitarily trusted in the Resurrection of Her most beloved Son - Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
“Teach souls to love the Heart of My Mother, pierced by the very sorrow which pierced Mine…The Heart of My Mother has the right to be called Sorrowful, and I wish this title to be placed before that of Immaculate, for She won it Herself.” (Our Lord to Berthe Petit)
Secrets of the Catholic City is the name of Mrs. Bartold's new column, published by Catholic Family News (CFN). "Why Saturday is Our Lady's Day" was published in CFN's April 2009 issue. All Rights Reserved World-wide by the author.
Marianna Bartold, founder of Keeping It Catholic, is the author of “The Age of Mary” Study Guides, a series of “digitally delivered” Catholic unit studies for homeschooled teens - as well as adults or anyone who wishes to grow closer “to Jesus through Mary.” Her other works include the upcoming digital Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings) Catholic Study Guide. She is the author of the Keeping It Catholic Home Education Guide books (Volumes I and II). Mrs. Bartold was the original homeschool editor of Sursum Corda and the founding publisher of The Catholic Family Magnificat! Magazine.
 Mk 4:11
Canon George D. Smith, D.D., Ph.D., The Teaching of the Catholic Church: A Summary of Catholic Doctrine, Vol. 1. [New York: The MacMillan Company, 1959]: p. 538
 St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary. Fourth Reprint Revised. (Brooklyn, NY: Redemptorist Fathers, 1931): p. 602
 Gal 6:7
 Rev. R. Walsh, O.P., Meditation on the Passion [Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1963]: p. 249
 Lk 23: 34
 Lk 23: 43
 Jn 19: 26 -27
 Matt 27: 46
 Jn 19: 28
Jn 19: 30
 Lk 23: 46
 Lk 2:35
 Lk 1: 38
 Lk. 1:32
 Eccles 24:24-25
 St. Alphonsus de Liguori, op. cit., p. 564
 Ibid., p. 568
 Smith, op. cit., p. 528
 Ibid., p. 565
 Ps. 86: 3.
 Ps. 47
 St. John Eudes, op. cit., p. 77
 Rosary Crusade Clarion, June 2001 (Issue 6) [http://www.sspx.ca/Rosary_Crusade/issue_06.htm]
 Serm. 13 de Exalt. BV in Gloria; cited by St. John Eudes, p. 116. Emphasis added.
 St. Louis Marie de Montfort, The Secret of Mary. [Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications, Revised Edition 1993]: p. 11
 St. John Eudes, op. cit., pp.164-165
 Smith, op. cit., p. 513
 St. John Eudes, op. cit., p. 97
 St. Alphonsus de Liguori, op. cit., pp. 527-528
 St. John Eudes, loc cit.
 Fr. John Hardon, S.J., “Fatima in the Light of History.” The Real Presence website. [http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mariology/Mariology_030.htm]