The devotion was specifically requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima
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If the Church has accepted the message of Fátima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.“Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15): these are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity. The message of Fátima is, in its basic nucleus, a call to conversion and repentance, as in the Gospel.—Pope St. John Paul
Why First Saturdays?
A more recent practice in the Church that is lesser known and is often confused with the First Friday devotions is the observance of the five consecutive First Saturdays in reparation to Our Lady. It is a separate devotion that was specifically requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary for the troubling times that we live in. Connected to the visions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal, the central theme of the devotion is repentance, conversion and reparation.
To help us better understand this “new” devotion in the life of the Church, here are five things to know.
- How did the First Saturday Devotion begin?
Saturdays have traditionally been a day to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary for many centuries, but it wasn’t until 1925 that the First Saturday devotion was revealed. On December 10, 1925, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Sister Lucia at a convent in Pontevedra, Spain. Sister Lucia had previously been the recipient of Marian visions in Fatima, Portugal, along with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco. In this new private revelation eight years after the visions at Fatima, Mary requested the institution of the five consecutive First Saturday devotions in reparation to her Immaculate Heart.
- Why five consecutive months?
The five months correspond to five different blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary as revealed by Our Lady to Sister Lucia:
1.) against her Immaculate Conception
2.) against her perpetual virginity
3.) against her place as the Mother God and mother of all humanity
4.) those who openly seek to foster in the hearts of children indifference, or even hatred, for this Immaculate Mother
5.) those who directly insult her holy images
- What am I supposed to do on First Saturdays?
Go to Mass and receive Holy Communion with the intention of making reparation for the blasphemies and ingratitude done to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Going to confession is also a requirement of this devotion, along with reciting the five decades of the rosary and meditating on the mysteries (one or all) of the rosary for 15 minutes.
- What are the “promises” connected to this devotion?
Our Lady said to Sister Lucia, “Look, my daughter, at my heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the rosary, and keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on 15 mysteries of the rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
This means that anyone who practices this devotion with faith will be given extra graces at the moment of their death with the promise of reaching the gates of heaven.
- Are the First Saturdays just another “ticket” to heaven?
Similar to the First Friday devotion, it is not as simple as going to Mass for five months and then expecting to receive extra graces at the hour of death. The purpose of this devotion is to lead a soul closer to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The closer we get to Mary, the closer we are to Jesus, her son. By practicing these extra devotions, we allow Mary to form our hearts and prepare us for a lifelong relationship with Christ.
Mary wants to lead us to heaven and a sure path to eternal life is the frequent reception of Holy Communion and the sacrament of confession. She is the “Star of the Sea,” who points the way and beckons us to draw closer. May we practice the First Saturday devotions in a spirit of faith to honor the Mother of God and repair the damage done to her Immaculate Heart.