Why the First Saturdays are necessary

Sebechleby – Typical catholic image of heart of Virgin Mary from Slovakia printed in Germany from the en od 19. cent. originally by unknown artist.

by John Haffert

There is an essential connection between daily response to the message of Fatima and the First Saturdays.

The first question put to the children by Our Lady (also a primary condition for the triumph of her Heart) was, are you willing to accept whatever God will send you and offer it up as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended?

She taught them: “When you make a sacrifice, say ‘O my Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”

A Renewal

The First Saturdays are a profound renewal of these intentions which Our Lady asked of us many times daily – whenever we make a sacrifice.

The First Saturday devotion is so important that we might well wonder if fulfillment of the basic conditions of Fatima for world peace (sanctification of daily duty) might be impossible without practice of the First Saturday devotion.

The First Saturday devotion is a great act of love not accomplished easily. “The time we dedicate to Mary on the First Saturdays is a ‘strong’ time, difficult to accomplish perfectly, just on the spur of the moment … The devotion of the First Saturdays cannot be authentic if it is not the fruit of a constant attitude of the soul pervading all the days of our life,” says French author Pere Coveliers.

A wave of evil is sweeping over the world; to prevent it we need reparation.

To put it another way: Sin can weigh down the scales of justice so that God would have to punish the world as He did centuries ago with the deluge. But we can tip the other side of the scale with reparation.

Obviously a Morning Offering, wearing the Scapular, praying the Rosary and even making the First Saturdays are not sufficient counterweight to today’s avalanche of evil.

So how can Our Lady promise the triumph of her Heart for these few acts?

Attitude of Love

The intention makes the difference.

The first element of reparation is compassion. We feel sorry for the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, so full of love for every soul and yet today so rejected that “many souls are lost.”

The second element of reparation is unselfish love. We desire to console, to compensate in some way for the outrages, to counteract the neglect and hatred with our devotion.

Behind the warnings of Fatima (emphasized even more in 1973 by the drastic warnings of Our Lady of Akita in Japan) is Divine Justice.

But Jesus and Mary call not for justice, but for love – from our hearts to theirs! They call for reparation – a love essentially pure, unselfish – through putting our hearts in the place of theirs afflicted by the sins of the world, the defection of souls by drugs, pornography, abandonment to sin, by the overwhelming wave of evil engulfing our youth.

All Included in the Pledge

This is what we are asked at Fatima. And the World Apostolate of Fatima/Blue Army Pledge accomplishes this through the following three elements:

  1. The Scapular expresses that love. It cries out at every moment (even when I sleep): “Jesus and Mary, I belong to you! I want to be with you forever. I believe, I trust, I love you!”
  2. The Rosary, prayed for fifteen or so minutes, is a deeper, more intense profession of the same faith, trust and love. We fuse our hearts into the Hearts of Jesus and Mary through the most profound mysteries of their lives on earth and in heaven.
  3. It is all summed up in the Morning Offering in which we give (in advance) every act of the day through the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in union with His sacrifice from every altar around the world that same day for His best interests.

So why do we need the devotion of the First Saturdays? The answer is obvious from the requests made by Our Lady to fulfill the First Saturday devotion:

The Conditions

We must confess our sins in a spirit of reparation – even if we have not fallen into mortal sin during the previous month. This is the supreme renewal of the same offering we make every morning.

We are to receive the Eucharist as a supreme act of love, offered on this special day in reparation for five major offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which so deeply wound Jesus – so ready to forgive offenses against His own Sacred Heart, but today demands reparation also for offenses, symptomatic of today’s wave of evil, against His own Mother’s Heart.

We must spend fifteen minutes in the company of Our Lady meditating upon the mysteries of the Rosary … fifteen minutes in which we do not pray for something or about something, but spent “heart to heart.” Our Lady said, “Keep me company for fifteen minutes…” minutes of intimacy, of love, of understanding and reparation.

We are to pray the Rosary. Even though we pray the Rosary each day, this First Saturday Rosary has a special meaning and purpose. It is an act of compassion, of reparation.

These are the simple, but effective, conditions for the First Saturdays. There are four specific acts, all with the fifth condition of reparation.

Personal Test

Therefore, how can the five First Saturdays be separated from the daily WAF/Blue Army Pledge? How could anyone make the First Saturday devotion perfectly without having lived the pledge daily? We might also ask: How can anyone perfectly fulfill the daily requests of Our Lady of Fatima without the First Saturdays?

Our purpose each day, therefore, is reparation.

This article first appeared in Soul magazine, Jan/Feb 1987 issue.

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