The requirements of the First Saturday devotion in making reparation are simple: Go to confession, receive Holy Communion, pray a five-decade Rosary AND spend an additional 15 minutes with Mary, meditating on the other mysteries of the Rosary.
The purpose of the First Saturday devotion is to make reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart, which offend God in His creation of Mary – the Masterpiece of Grace, as St. Louis de Montfort described her. God, in His mercy, created Mary, the new Eve, who, through her constant obedience, erased the disobedience of our first parents. She would be the first tabernacle that carried the Son of God, now present in all the tabernacles of the world. God has a role for her in His plan of salvation.
Jesus clarified to Sister Lucia that there are five blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart that offend Him and that is why there was a request for five consecutive First Saturdays, to make reparation for them:
- Against her Immaculate Conception
- Against her Perpetual Virginity
- Against her Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time to accept her as Mother of mankind
- For those who publicly seek to implant in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect and even hatred for this Immaculate Mother.
- For those who revile her directly in her sacred images.
It is an act of mercy to repair for these sins in order to help bring about the graces necessary for the conversion of these people. But also, to repair the disunity and schisms in the Church, which is the Body of Christ – and this includes all baptized Christians. God wants us to know this great gift of a heavenly Mother who loves all God’s children and desires them to know and embrace truth, handed down from the Apostles through Christ.
Despite the simplicity of this devotion, many have questions arise about how to do them. Here are five are some of the most commonly asked.
1. There is no Saturday morning Mass at my parish. Can I attend the Saturday evening anticipatory Mass?
Yes. The request was to receive Holy Communion on that day. You can offer your Holy Communion at a Saturday evening Mass, especially if no other Mass is available. Jesus told Lucia, they can even offer their Holy Communion at the Sunday Mass following first Saturday, provided they have good reason. If you were just being lazy about getting to a Mass on Saturday, that is not a good reason.
2. I can’t get to confession on first Saturday. Can I make my confession some other time?
Yes. Like most devotions in the Church, including the Divine Mercy Sunday requirements, you can make a confession within 8 days of the First Saturday (before or after), provided that you are in a state of grace – meaning devoid of mortal sin on your soul – when you receive Communion on that day. One should never receive Holy Communion with unconfessed mortal sin. That is a sacrilege against Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and deeply offends God.
3. Do I have to meditate for 15 minutes beyond praying the Rosary?
Yes. Our Lady requested an “additional” 15 minutes of meditation on the other mysteries of the Rosary. This is best done privately, or if in a public manner, that sufficient time is given to those participating to have a time of silence for meditation. Our Lady wants to open the treasures of her Heart to us, where she herself pondered the scenes of Christ’s life, and contemplate their meaning. Let her guide you and direct your thoughts accordingly. You may be drawn to one particular mystery and receive insights about it that God wants you to see. While many communal First Saturdays pray a five-decade Rosary with meditations, it is not the same as offering the additional 15 minutes meditation.
4. If I’ve done five consecutive First Saturdays, have I completed the devotion?
Yes, as far as receiving the promise from Our Lady that she will be with you at the time of your death with all the graces necessary for your salvation. But in your love for Jesus and a desire to honor His Mother in the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, continue to make the First Saturday devotion every month. Even if you cannot complete perfectly another five in a row, you can set the First Saturday as a special day to honor Mary, as St. Louis de Montfort also called for in living out a consecration to Jesus through Mary. You are also helping to garner the graces necessary for the conversion of those souls who deeply offend God in these blasphemies and may be in danger of losing their soul for eternity. Sister Lucia said the First Saturday devotion is a monthly renewal of your “yes” to God, which was asked for in the first apparition at Fatima: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and accept and bear patiently with all He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for sins and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?” The First Saturday will become a habit and a reminder, too, that it’s time for confession. Mary is asking for monthly confession in this devotion. God can’t use us, and we cannot grow in holiness and grace, if we are weighed down by sin. Our hearts are in constant need of purification and cleansing.
5. Our parish doesn’t offer First Saturday devotions. My priest isn’t interested in promoting it.
The parish does not need to host a special First Saturday devotion in order to complete the elements of the request. Individuals can make the devotion on their own. The request for the First Saturday devotion was to lay people, similar to the First Friday devotion, which asks for special devotion to the Sacred Heart on that day and completing nine consecutive First Friday Masses to obtain the special promise of Jesus.
Certainly, we hope and invite all parishes to promote both of these great devotions and to dedicate a First Friday and First Saturday Mass in reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, and offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation on one or both days. But most churches offer daily and/or weekend Masses, regular confession and are open for private prayer and meditation.
“God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and those souls will be loved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.” (Our Lady of Fatima – June 13, 1917)
Barb Ernster is the National Coordinator/Communications Manager/Editor for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.