By Lawrence Maginot –
As we grow closer to the 100th anniversary of the request for the First Saturday Devotion by Our Lady of Fatima in 2025, many people remain confused about how to carry it out, especially the request for fifteen minutes of meditation in addition to the five-decade Rosary. This time of meditation is an important element of the devotion and there is good reason for it, or Our Lady would not have requested it specifically.
Our Lady’s Request
Our Lady and the Child Jesus appeared to Sister Lucia in the cell of her convent at Pontevedra, Spain, on Dec. 10, 1925, to request the five First Saturdays Communions of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This request was in fulfillment of a statement Our Lady made earlier within the “secrets” entrusted to the shepherd children on July 13, 1917: “To prevent this I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communions of reparation on the first Saturdays.” This devotion is extremely powerful for obtaining for the Church and the world the graces needed to reverse the ill effects of atheistic errors which have spread everywhere. The elements of this devotion include: making a good confession; receiving Holy Communion; praying five decades of the Rosary; and meditating for fifteen minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary while keeping Our Lady company, and doing all these with the explicit intention of making reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It seems to me that the heart of this devotion is the final element of the request, the fifteen minutes of meditation upon the mysteries of the Rosary. Sr. Lucia later explained in a letter to her spiritual director that this time of meditation “will be more perfect to do” as an act separate from the meditations we are already asked to do while praying the Rosary. Meditation is not an easy task, but it is an activity we can improve upon with practice. Therefore, it is great advice to engage it in a manner that is more perfect, as Sr. Lucia suggests. Most importantly, we should do it with Mary.
“Keep Me Company for 15 Minutes”
Notice Our Lady’s choice of words when requesting this of us. She said, “keep me company for fifteen minutes…”. Our Lady is both our spiritual Mother and our spiritual exemplar. The implication here is that by meditating upon the mysteries of the Rosary, we draw near to Mary in a way she finds comforting and consoling, as a mother would feel consolation from a child who, recognizing the value of the gift of her maternal love, spends time with her to listen to her and better understand the thoughts that fill the treasury of her heart. Our meditation is an action which, in some way, reciprocates her love and expresses gratitude to her for her benevolence. We are reminded of the Gospel’s characterization of Mary as the one who “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19), recognizing that, where Mary’s treasure is, there her Immaculate Heart is also present (cf. Lk 12:34; Mt 6:21).
When we enter into meditation upon the life of her Son and all that corresponds to it, we enter into a real communion with her Immaculate Heart. She is able to communicate with us the treasure that fills her own heart; and we, consoling her heart in this manner, keep her company. This particular communion with Mary’s Immaculate Heart helps us, by God’s grace, to further forge the more substantial Communion we are called to make with her Divine Son. She, thus, nurtures us as “the rest of her offspring” (Rv 12:17).
This call to commune with Mary’s Immaculate Heart is a great motivation for undertaking this request, for the act of meditation is no easy task. Our lives are filled with duties, distractions, concerns, worries, etc. We need to make the effort and not be overly disappointed with the obstacles that are sure to get in the way. G.K. Chesterton once famously said that “if something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” This is the attitude I think we should always have when approaching meditation. It is an essential human action that strives to fulfill, in part, what Christ called “the great and first commandment:” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (cf. Mt 22:38,37). As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of our faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ” (2708).
With Our Lady, We Become Lights in the Darkness
We don’t want to approach such a task alone when Our Lady is calling us to draw near to her and keep her company. In turn, expending whatever effort it takes for us to meditate upon the mysteries of the Rosary and discovering those methods and techniques that work for us, gives great comfort to her Immaculate Heart. It allows her, with the light and comfort of the Holy Spirit, to fortify and enrich us with the abiding, eternal truths of the Gospel, helping us to rise above the vexations and vicissitudes of life.
We live in a world that has been radically reoriented by errors which have been aggressively spread from a formally atheistic Russia. By drawing near to the Heart of Mary in the meditations and prayers of the Rosary, our own souls become purified of the infection of these errors which permeate the structures of the postmodern worldview. With Our Lady, we become lights in the darkness and agents of the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart.