by Barb Ernster –
Much attention was given the March 25th consecration of Russia/Ukraine by Pope Francis, with a multitude of bishops, priests and laypeople worldwide joining in. It spurred great attention to the other message of Our Lady – the request for the First Saturday Communions of Reparation.
The Catholic media, in particular, took interest in this forgotten part, and we have been bombarded with requests for more information on the First Saturday devotion.
Many of our members and devotees of Our Lady of Fatima have been practicing the First Saturdays monthly, or as often as they can. Once you do the five consecutive First Saturdays, something stirs the heart to keep going, and that’s exactly what Our Lady wants from us – hearts stirred to draw closer to her Mother’s Heart.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary runs deep. The treasure that is in her Heart is priceless and she wants us to discover it. That is why she asked for the Rosary every day, so that we will begin to meditate daily on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary. Any spiritual director who is familiar with the Carmelite way will ask you to begin with a 15-minute meditation daily. Our Lady knows this can be difficult, so she gave us the Rosary to give us something to focus on.
First Saturdays are a special day for Our Lady
St. Louis de Montfort, who wrote so eloquently about Mary in the late 17th century, defined this devotion to her Heart and Mary confirmed it at Fatima.
In his book The Secret of Mary, he writes what perfect devotion to Mary consists of:
- “The first consists in fulfilling the duties of our Christian state, avoiding all mortal sin, performing our actions for God, praying to Our Lady and honoring her as the Mother of God.”
Sister Lucia said the essential message of Our Lady of Fatima is to offer up our daily duty according to our state in life. It is our “yes” to God, accepting all that He wills to send us, our trials and sufferings.
2. “The second consists in entertaining for Our Lady deeper feelings of esteem and love, of confidence and veneration. This devotion inspires us to join the confraternities of the Holy Rosary and the Scapular, to say the five or fifteen decades of the Rosary or to venerate Our Lady’s images and make her known to others.”
At Fatima, Our Lady asked us to say the Rosary every day and to console her Immaculate Heart that is pierced with thorns from all those who blaspheme her. These blasphemies were further explained by our Lord to Sister Lucia in the request for the First Saturdays devotion. Lucia asked Him, why five, and he explained the five blasphemies that gravely offend Him.
3. “The third is the wearing of a small, blessed chain around the neck to remind us of what it signifies.”
Mary appeared during the miracle of the sun on Oct. 13, 1917, as Our Lady of Mount Carmel and holding out a Brown Scapular. Sister Lucia said the Brown Scapular is part of the message of Fatima. Wearing it signifies our consecration and entrustment to her Immaculate Heart.
Finally, St. Louis promoted choosing a special day to consecrate yourself through Mary to Jesus. “This is an occasion for receiving Holy Communion and spending the day in prayer. At least once a year on the same day, we should renew the act of consecration.”
Our Lady asks us to make the First Saturdays a special day set aside for devotion to her Immaculate Heart. Once you have completed five consecutive First Saturdays, let the monthly First Saturdays after that be your special day to honor her and renew your consecration and commitment. Great favors are obtained for you because of this, just as great favors are obtained by setting aside the First Fridays in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Furthermore, your Holy Communion, confession, Rosary and meditation make reparation for the sins of people who may otherwise be lost. It allows the rivers of grace to flow through her Immaculate Heart out into the world and capture the lost souls in its currents, where they can be directed to the fountain of mercy that is the Heart of Jesus on the Cross.
You will have already obtained Mary’s great promise that she will be with you at the time of your death with all the graces necessary for your salvation. Now, do this for others.
Getting started with First Saturdays
For those of you who are just getting started and are not sure what to do, the World Apostolate of Fatima USA invites you to participate in the Great Promise PassportTM, a creative new way to fulfill Our Lady’s request for the First Saturday Devotion. Following the ancient tradition of the Camino de Compostela, the Great Promise PassportTM allows you to mark and track your progress. The initiative runs from May – October. We invite you to begin this Saturday, May 7, and complete five First Saturdays. If you miss May, you can start in June and still finish by October. Those who complete the “passport” and collect all five stamps will be included in a drawing on October 13 at the Blue Army Shrine, which includes a pilgrimage to Fatima with our organization.
At this critical time in history, we must do our part to fulfill Our Lady’s request. We strongly encourage you to invite friends, family, parishes and schools to join us in this devotion.
Barb Ernster is the Communications Manager and Editor of Soul Magazine for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.