The following is an explanation of the conditions contained in Our Lady’s request at Fatima, Portugal regarding the Communion of reparation on the on the first Saturday of the month for five consecutive months.
The promise made by Our Lady to Lucia on July 13th, 1917, that there would be a future manifestation concerning the practice of the Five First Saturdays, was fulfilled on December 10th, 1925. Lucia was then a Postulant Sister in the Dorothean Convent at Tuy, Spain. On this occasion Our Lady appeared together with the Child Jesus, Who spoke first to Lucia:
“Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns which ungrateful men place therein at every moment, while there is no one who does an act of reparation to withdraw them for her.”
Our Lady then addressed Lucia as follows:
“Behold, my daughter, my Heart encircled with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Give me consolation, you, at least; and make known on my behalf that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all who on the First Saturday of five consecutive months confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart.”
WHY FIVE SATURDAYS?
It is sometimes asked why Our Lady asked for 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 offenses 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 dishonoring of her images, and the neglect of implanting in the hearts of children a knowledge and love of this Immaculate Mother.
The spirit of reparation is a loving desire to make reparation to and console the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Our Mother. It considers the offenses which the Immaculate Heart of Mary now receives from those who reject her maternal intervention and despise her prerogatives. One should make this intention before carrying out Our Lady’s requests. A renewal of the actual intention at the time is best.
On February 15, 1926 the Child Jesus alone came to visit Sr. Lucia 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.”
Confession: Repentance and Conversion: In order to fulfil this requirement in a truly worthy manner, we must look beyond the mere formality of going to confession at the appointed time, to a heartfelt spirit of repentance and lasting sorrow for our sins. This spirit of penance should pervade our entire life, in such a manner that it compels us to walk always in the path of that amendment of life for which Our Lady asked. In all true devotion to Our Lady — and devotion to her Immaculate Heart is the perfect expression of this true devotion — there must always be an effective repentance, that is, the returning of our hearts to Christ Our Savior. For all of us (sinners all), it is a call to conversion to the path of grace and submission to God’s holy Will. Even for those souls who already habitually live in the grace of God, true devotion to Our Lady impels them more and more to travel the pathway to holiness, by striving to purge themselves daily of all that is not of God. And it is this true devotion, based as it is on heartfelt repentance and conversion, that creates in them a truly authentic spirit of the Christian apostolate — the desire to lead others along the same path to the Heart of God.
If one cannot go to confession the first Saturday of the month, one can go within eight days. Even one’s monthly confession would be sufficient, which would need the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
2.Receive Holy Communion
3.Devout Recitation of the Rosary with Meditation
“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 there required an additional fifteen minutes of meditation? 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:
It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
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,” Bishop da Silva’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.
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. These few pages are 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.
The Promises attached to the Five First Saturdays Devotion.
1. Salvation of our own soul
To all those who, on the First Saturday of five consecutive months … fulfill all the conditions requested, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their soul. This little devotion practised with a good heart, is then enough to procure infallibly for us – ex opere operato so to speak – as with the sacraments – the grace of final perseverance, of eternal salvation! And this promise is without any exclusion, limitation, restriction. To all who ….. I promise. Heaven for eternity for five Holy Communions!
2. Salvation of sinners
So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray. (Our Lady to Sister Lucy at Tuy, June 13,1929.) In consideration of this little devotion, They (Jesus and Mary) wish to give the grace of pardon to souls who have had the misfortune of offending the Immaculate Heart of Mary, wrote Sister Lucy in a letter of May, 1930.
3. Peace in the world
Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven. Sister Lucy, March 19,1939.