I sat down at my computer a few minutes ago and realized I’d never written anything about First Saturdays. And, as we’ve just entered the month of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, and today happens to be the First Saturday of the month, and we are observing the one-hundredth anniversary of the Fatima apparitions this year, it just seems like the right time!
First Saturday Mass was never really available to our family until we began to attend our current parish, a little over a year ago. Since First Saturday is generally the only time the Traditional Form of the Mass is offered at our church apart from Sundays and big feast days (and we usually have altar server training, choir practice, and church cleaning afterwards), we’ve tried to go whenever possible. Yes, it’s an early morning; yes, some months there can be sickness, pressing duties, or just an overload of the schedule that, for prudence’s sake, make it less than doable. Whenever we’ve been blessed to be there, it’s always been a grace-filled experience. (Mass generally is. . .)
But, for my part, I wasn’t really focused on the devotion itself until Mom, ever a child of Our Lady of Fatima, brought it to the whole family’s attention at the beginning of last month. When the Holy Ghost puts something on Mom’s heart, it’s a good idea to listen. And so we did, sitting around our dear, much-scuffed kitchen table, as she read to us about the ins and outs of the First Saturday devotion. Her desire to answer our Lady’s plea for reparation through this devotion was contagious, and now it feels as though our family’s devotion to Our Lady, already cultivated by our daily family Rosary and Confraternity of Angelic Warfare Prayers, has grown a new branch, a branch which I am sure will in time bear wonderful fruit for God. Thanks Mom!
So, for the first time, last First Saturday we all undertook to complete the four simple requests of Our Lady, which are as follows:
On the First Saturday of five consecutive months, we are to, with the intention of making reparation for the offenses committed against her dear Heart:
-Go to Confession (may be within eight days before, as long as we stay in the state of grace; or at the first opportunity after)
-Receive Holy Communion
-Pray five decades of the Rosary, including the Fatima Prayer (O my Jesus)
-Keep her company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary (this is to be separate from the Rosary; and one may meditate on one mystery, all fifteen, or any number of them between)
The offenses we are striving to make reparation for are the many ways in which her Immaculate Heart is offended; such as attacks against her Immaculate Conception, her virginity, and her Divine Motherhood; the sin of those who teach their children contempt of her; and the desecration of her images.
In return for these little gestures of loving reparation, our most generous Mother vows,
“I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who (do so) in order to make reparation to me.”
So this morning I was up with the birds (yes, I’ve been reading my sister’s posts!) and happily able to be at First Saturday Mass for the second consecutive time. We’ll see if I get another three in a row before a car breaks down or someone is stricken with the plague–but if some calamity or conflict does occur, there will always be a chance, God willing, to start again the next month.
But only this afternoon–and even as I was writing this–did it really come home to me and penetrate my heart: the true reason why First Saturdays matter for me. The reason is much deeper than going just because it’s ‘what you do’ as part of the Latin Mass community at our parish; it is deeper than just an obedient (and loving) response to the inspiration of my sweet mom on Earth; the reason even goes beyond the power of her promise to assist us at the our of death (which, Heaven knows, is the grace I desire just about more than any other).
The reason I have devoted myself to making the Five First Saturdays (or to spending the rest of my life trying) is simply this: my Heavenly Mother asked for it. And when the Holy Ghost puts something on Mom’s Immaculate Heart, it’s a good idea to listen. If I can’t refuse the requests of my mother on earth because of my love, respect, and obedience for her, what should my response be to the requests of my most sweet, most amiable, most lovable Mother in Heaven?
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Sorrowful Heart of Mary, I compassionate thee!