Our Lady Establishes the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays
The Apparition of December 10, 1925
On this day Our Lady, holding Her Immaculate Heart in Her Hand, appeared to Lucia, and by Her side stood the Child Jesus on a luminous cloud. The Child Jesus said: "Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”
Then the Blessed Virgin Mary said to Lucia: "Look, my daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me 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 fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me.”
On another occasion the Child Jesus reappeared to Lucia and asked that those who practice this devotion, receive Him in Holy Communion when in the state of grace.
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Act of Reparation for the First Saturdays of the Month
O Most Holy Virgin, and Our Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of your Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns placed therein at every moment by the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful humanity. We are moved by the ardent desire of loving you as Our Mother and of promising a true devotion to Your Immaculate Heart.
We therefore kneel before you to manifest the sorrow we feel for the grievances that people cause you, and to atone by our prayers and sacrifices for the offences with which they return your love. Obtain for them and for us the pardon of so many sins. Hasten the conversion of sinners that they may love Jesus Christ and cease to offend the Lord, already so much offended. Turn your eyes of mercy toward us, that we may love God with all our heart on earth and enjoy Him forever in Heaven.
Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and tender Mother of men, in accordance with thy ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to thy Immaculate Heart myself, my brethren, my country and the whole human race. Reign over us, Most Holy Mother of God, and teach us how to make the Heart of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, reign and triumph in us even as It has reigned and triumphed in thee. Reign over us, dearest Mother, that we may be thine in prosperity and in adversity; in joy and in sorrow; in health and in sickness; in life and in death. O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and our hearts and preserve them from the deluge of impurity which thou didst lament so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to be pure like thee. We want to atone for the many sins committed against Jesus and thee. We want to call down upon our country and the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity.
Therefore, we now promise to imitate thy virtues by the practice of a Christian life without regard to human respect. We resolve to receive Holy Communion on the First Saturday of every month and to offer thee five decades of the rosary each day together with our sacrifices in a spirit of reparation and penance. Amen.
EXPLANATION OF THE GREAT PROMISE OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY REGARDING THE DEVOTION OF THE FIVE FIRST SATURDAYS
1. Confess and receive Holy Communion
On February 15, 1926, the Child Jesus alone came to visit Sr. Lucia (one of the visionaries at Fatima) and asked if the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was being propagated. Sr. Lucia spoke of a difficulty some people have in confessing on the first Saturday, and asked if they might be allowed eight days in order to fulfill Our Lady’s requests. Jesus answered: “Yes, even more time still, as long as they receive Me in the state of grace and have the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
2. Recite the Rosary
Five decades of the Rosary may be recited at any time or place; yet, since one will be attending Mass in order to receive Holy Communion, a very desirable time and place would be before or after Mass in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Meditation on the mysteries according to one’s capacity is an essential condition for praying the Rosary. Yet, involuntary distractions do not rob the Rosary of fruit if one is doing the best they can.
3. “Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary
The question is often asked: “Does the meditation while reciting the Rosary fulfill this condition, or is the person required to meditate for an additional fifteen minutes? That an additional 15 minutes of meditation is required was recently confirmed by Sr. Lucia of Fatima. It is clear too from a statement by the first Bishop of Fatima.The last entry in the chronology of Fatima, published in the official Calendar of the Sanctuary for the year of 1940, and signed by Dom Jose Correia da Silva, the first Bishop of Fatima, gave a summary of Our Lady’s requests concerning the Five First Saturdays. From that official statement in the Calendar of the Sanctuary, we read the Bishop’s enumeration of the various items that pertain to the devotion of the five Saturdays:The meditation embraces one or more mysteries; it may even include all, taken together or separately, according to individual attraction or devotion; but it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month. Speaking of the requirement of “keeping me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary,” the Bishop’s comment that “it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month” could apply only to an extra fifteen minutes, for each decade of the Rosary must have its own particular meditation. This is clear from the definition of the Rosary given in the official document of the Church on indulgences, the ENCHIRIDION OF INDULGENCES, published by Pope Paul VI in 1968 (http://holyjoe.org/indulgences/grants.htm). It describes the Rosary as follows: "The Rosary is a certain formula of prayer, which is made up of fifteen (now twenty) decades of HAIL MARYS with an OUR FATHER before each decade, and in which the recitation of each decade is accompanied by pious meditation on a particular mystery of our Redemption.”
Like the Rosary, this meditation may be made any time or place during the first Saturday. Yet again, like the Rosary, a very fitting time and place would be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament before or after Mass. The question has been asked: “Would an extra Rosary, which would require about fifteen minutes, fulfill this request?” It would seem, if fruitfully meditated, that it would. Or again, the time could be spent reading meditatively on one of the fifteen mysteries, which is a form of mental prayer that involves reading with frequent pauses to reflect on the matter read.
4. With the intention of making reparation.
All of the conditions mentioned above – in numbers 1 to 3 – should be fulfilled with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On the occasion of the visit of the Child Jesus to Sr. Lucia (Feb. 16, 1926), she asked: “My Jesus, what about those who forget to make the intention?” Jesus answered: “They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of their first opportunity to go to Confession.” The above are the minimum requirements for fulfilling the conditions of Our Lady’s promise to obtain for us “at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation.” Yet, these Communions of reparation, as has been pointed out, are only a portion of the devotion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The aforementioned information is meant to help bring about a frame of mind and heart that will make us aware of the need of reparation all through the month, and not just on the first Saturday.
It is sometimes asked why Our Lady asked for Holy Communions of reparation on five first Saturdays, instead of some other number. Our Blessed Lord answered that question when He appeared to Sr. Lucia May 29, 1930. He explained that it was because of five kinds of offences and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, namely: blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception, against her perpetual virginity, against the divine and spiritual maternity of Mary, blasphemies involving the rejection and dishonouring of her images, and the neglect of implanting in the hearts of children a knowledge and love of this Immaculate Mother.