Today is the last day of July and tomorrow being August 1 and a Saturday means that it is a First Saturday.
Contrary to popular belief, Our Lady did not explain the devotion at Fatima to the three children. She made mention of it during her July 1917 apparition at Fatima, when she said that she would come again and ask for Communions of reparation to be made in atonement for the sins of the world on the First Saturday of every month.
But it wasn’t until December 1925 that Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia at her Dorothean convent in Spain, and explained her request in detail. Our Lady told Lucia that her heart was pierced by many thorns because of the blasphemies and ingratitude of sinners.
Everyone who does the Five Saturdays devotions must have this intention foremost in their minds, that they are doing the devotion to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It can be useful for us to carry a mental image of Our Lady’s heart being punctured with sharp thorns to motivate us. There is also a very spectacular promise attached to the devotion. Our Lady told Lucia: “I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep my company for 15 minutes, meditating on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary.”
In order to do the devotion properly, you have to plan it carefully the day before and make a timetable of sorts for the Saturday. Today, I’ll be doing a lot of tasks such as laundry and food shopping that I normally do on a Saturday so that there is free time tomorrow. The requirements are that you receive Holy Communion in a state of grace (if you are like me and always falling into sin that means going to Confession on Friday night or early Saturday morning). During my life, I’ve known people who will only take part in a First Saturday Mass if it is Tridentine; they argue that the Old Rite Mass was the norm in churches all over the world when Our Lady appeared to the children at Fatima and that this is the Mass Our Lady must have meant. My view is that Our Lady did not say to the children that we should only do the First Saturdays devotion if the Mass was a Tridentine Mass.
At Fatima, Our Lady asked six times that we offer a daily five decade Rosary, and it is compulsory to do so when offering the First Saturday devotion. Perhaps because my mind is as hyper-active as a three-year-old who has drunk three cans of Red Bull, I find the meditation on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary to be the hardest. The best way that I have found is to meditate for a minute on each mystery.
There are five months of 2015 left and if you start the First Saturdays tomorrow, you will have completed it in time for Christmas, and in time to mark the 90th anniversary of the devotion, for it will be 90 years since Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia with details of how to offer the Five First Saturdays on December 10 1925.