As this Saturday, September 3, 2011 is a first Saturday, I thought I would write a short piece of the First Saturdays Devotion.
The First Saturdays Devotion (or Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Blessed Virgin Mary) is a Catholic practice which, according to the visionaries, has been requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary in several visitations, notably Our Lady of Fátima and the subsequent Pontevedra apparitions. This devotion, and the Marian apparitions, have been officially embraced by the Roman Catholic Church.
The devotion fits on the Catholic tradition to venerate the Virgin Mary particularly on Saturdays, which originated in the scriptural account that, as the Mother of Jesus Christ, her heart was to be pierced with a sword, as prophesied during the presentation of Jesus in the temple; such sword was the bitter sorrow during the Crucifixion of Jesus which Catholic devotees understand as the union of the Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Such sorrow is particularly bitterly endured on Holy Saturday after Jesus was placed on the Sepulcher, before the Resurrection on Easter. Devotees of Fátima believe that the First Saturdays help to console the sorrows of God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary for the sins against Her Immaculate Heart.
|Statue depicting Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima|
The Act of Reparation
It has been promised, by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Pontevedra apparitions great graces, specially at the hour of death; In particular the salvation of the soul, for the believer that for Five Consecutive First Saturdays of Month (5 Saturdays in 5 Months) receives Holy Communion and practices the following exercises as an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven:
- Sacramental confession
The confession can take place days before or even after the Holy Communion is received, but the Holy Communion shall be received with dignity, in state of Grace, as Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist. The Intention of making reparation to the immaculate heart of Mary may be only mental and it is not necessary to notify the confessor priest.
- To receive Holy Communion
The Holy Communion has to be received within the 24 hours of the first Saturday of the Month. Attendance to Holy Mass is optional. The Intention of receiving Holy Communion as an act of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Virgin Mary has to be mentally expressed. To avoid omitting the Intention every Saturday, the General Intention for the devotion of the act of reparation can be Mentally or outspokenly set before starting the First Saturdays (or in between).
If a person has a valid reason not to attend Mass (Masses not available on Saturdays, difficult mobilization, other major event), a priest can be inquired (preferably before) about receiving the Holy Communion other day, if the ordained priest deems the reasons valid the reparation communion is acceptable other day.
- A 5 Decades Rosary is recited meditating the Mysteries for 15 minutes
Both, reciting the Rosary and the Meditation, have to be done in Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Meditation is the crucial part. If the Rosary is recited with attention the inherent 3 Minute meditation per mystery is sufficient. It is recommendable, however, to explicitly dedicate 15 minutes to meditate the Mysteries; It can be done with the aid of sacred scripture.
The activities of the Five First Saturdays devotion are different from the same devotions on other days in that all should be done with the intention in the heart of making reparation to the Blessed Mother for blasphemies against her, her name and her holy initiatives.
Sister Lúcia, the only Fátima visionary to survive into adulthood reported that the Blessed Mother came to her in her convent at Pontevedra, Spain with the following statement:
- Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
The First Saturdays devotion had already been an established custom in the Catholic Church. On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. This practice greatly resembled the reported request of Mary at the Pontevedra apparitions.