“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thee womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
The practice of the First Saturday devotion was requested by Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, multiple times starting in 1917. She said to Lucia, the oldest of the three children:
“I shall come to ask . . . that on the First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world.”
Years later she repeated her request to Sr. Lucia, the only one still living of the three young Fatima seers, while she was a postulant sister living in a convent in Spain:
“Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at very 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 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
Conditions to Fulfill the First Saturday Devotion
There are five requirements to obtain this promise from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On five consecutive first Saturdays of the month, one should:
1. Have the intention of consoling the Immaculate Heart in a spirit of reparation.
2. Go to confession (within eight days before or after the first Saturday).
3. Receive Holy Communion.
4. Say five decades of the Holy Rosary.
5. Meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary with the goal of keeping Our Lady company (for example, while in church or before an image or statue of Our Lady).
Why Five Saturdays?
Our Lord appeared to Sr. Lucia on May 29, 1930 and gave her the reason behind the five Saturdays devotion. It is because there are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2. Blasphemies against Our Lady’s perpetual virginity
3. Blasphemies against her divine maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize her as the Mother of men
4. Blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference or scorn or even hatred of their Immaculate Mother
5. Offenses of those who outrage Our Lady directly in her holy images. Never think that Jesus is indifferent to whether or not His mother is honored!
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart
Pope Paul VI, on the floor of the Vatican Council at the close of the third session, renewed publicly the consecration of the Church and the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. He said that his thoughts turned to the whole world “which our venerated predecessor Pius XII . . . not without inspiration from on high, solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. . . . O Virgin Mary, Mother of the Council, to you we recommend the entire Church.”
When he visited Fatima on May 13, 1967, the same Pope recalled this “consecration which we ourselves have renewed on November 21, 1964 — we exhort all the sons of the Church to renew personally their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of the Church and to bring alive this most noble act of veneration through a life ever more in accord with the divine will and in a spirit of filial service and of devout imitation of their heavenly Queen.”
Before making a consecration it is most desirable to make a careful preparation extending over some period of time. One good way to make that preparation is described in the last part of St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion book.
The most essential thing is not making an act of consecration, with or without some solemnity, though that is important. The essential thing is to live that consecration.
Living a consecration could be described as following three attitudes or spirits:
- Union — Imitation of Jesus and Mary, so as to become like them, and trying to develop as constant as possible a realization of His and her presence.
- Dependence — Give to Jesus and Mary the right to dispose of everything we have, temporal and spiritual.
- Obedience — Jesus and Mary have the right to ask us to do anything at all, even without reward. In consecration, we recognize that right, give it on a basis of love, and plan to carry it out with fullest generosity.
St. Maximilian Kolbe liked to speak of the relation of consecration to our baptismal promises, in which we promised to renounce satan and all his works, and to follow Jesus, by whom we are “sealed” in baptism as His property. Consecration is the fullest kind of response to and carrying out of these promises. Mary, in view of her Immaculate Conception, was most fitted to respond most fully, and that she did, with a fullness and perfection beyond our ability to visualize — for we recall that Pius IX told us that even at the start of her existence, her holiness was so great that “none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it.”
Excerpted from Our Father’s Plan, Fr. William G. Most