The Five First Saturdays devotion is one of the principal points of the Fatima message. It centres on the urgent need for mankind to offer reparation and expiate for the many injuries that the Immaculate Heart of Mary suffers from the hands of both impious and indifferent men.
In December of 1925, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia, giving her the following guarantee of salvation for those who complete the First Five Saturdays Devotion “I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.”
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Why Five Saturdays?
The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offences and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1) Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
2) Blasphemies against her virginity.
3) Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men.
4) Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children.
5) Direct insults against Her sacred images.
How to complete the Five First Saturdays Devotion:
On the First Saturday of Five Consecutive Months: 1. Go to confession;
2. Receive Holy Communion;
3. Say five decades of the Rosary;
4. Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes, meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary;
History of the Devotion
During the third apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady revealed that she would come to ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and for the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays. Consequently, she asked for the devotion in 1925 and the consecration in 1929.
While staying at the House of the Dorothean Sisters in Pontevedra, Portugal, Sister Lucia received a vision on December 10, 1925 where the Blessed Mother appeared alongside a Boy who stood over a luminous cloud. Our Lady rested one hand on the Boy’s shoulder while she held in the other hand a heart pierced with thorns around it.
Sister Lucia heard the Boy say, “Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother which is covered with thorns with which ingrate men pierce it at every moment with no one to make an act of reparation to pull them out.”
Our Lady expressed her request in the following words.
“See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ingrates pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.”
A few days afterward, Sister Lucia detailed this vision in a letter addressed to Monsignor Manuel Pereira Lopes, her confessor when she resided in the Asylum of Vilar in the city of Oporto, Portugal.
Modifications to the Five First Saturdays Devotion
The original request of Our Lady asks one to confess and receive Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays; to say five decades of the Rosary; to meditate during 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary for the purpose of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation for the sins of men.
In subsequent private visions and apparitions however, Sister Lucia presented to Our Lord the difficulties that devotees encountered in fulfilling some conditions. With loving condescension and solicitude, Our Lord deigned to relax the rules to make this devotion more easy to observe:
Confession may be done on other days other than the First Saturdays so long as one receives Our Lord worthily and has the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Even if one forgets to make the intention, it may be done on the next confession, taking advantage of the first occasion to go to confession.
Sister Lucia also clarified that it is not necessary to meditate on ALL mysteries of the Rosary on each First Saturday. One or several suffice.
With much latitude granted by Our Lord Himself, there is no reason for the faithful to hesitate or delay this pious practice in the spirit of reparation which the Immaculate Heart of Mary urgently asks.
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This devotion is necessary in our days.
The culture of vice and sin remains unabated even as one reads this. Abortion, blasphemy, drug abuse, pornography, divorce and bad marriages, religious indifference, the advances of the homosexual agenda and others are just some of society’s many plagues that cut deeply into the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We must console Our Lady amidst all these insults and injuries to her and her Divine Son. She asks for reparation, she pleads for our prayers, she hopes for our amendment of life. Let us listen to her maternal pleas and atone for the ingratitude of men.
The First Five Saturdays devotion stimulates the spirit of reparation; it instils a tender love for the Holy Sacraments of Confession and the Blessed Eucharist. It nurtures a holy affection for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Rosary. Above all, it is an excellent means to maintain one in the state of grace while immersed in the daily spiritual battles and prosaic existence in the neo-pagan world in which we live.
Let us not delay in observing this devotion for it too gives us hope for eternal salvation.