What God Wants
At Fatima, what did Our Lady of the Rosary say God wanted?
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, there will be peace…If men do not cease offending God, another and more terrible war will break out …. In order to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace” (July 13, 1917, Fatima in Lucia’s own words, Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, 1976, p.169). During the same apparition, Our Lady mentioned peace a third time but this time she explained further that, “a period of peace will be conceded to the world.”
It was clear from the three visits of the angel who preceded Our Lady’s appearances that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was to be placed side by side with devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This was also indicated later in locutions received by Sr. Lucia. There is no competition between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is rather part of a more complete devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Consecration and reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary are two ways that we practice this devotion and are inseparable from our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (see Total Consecration and the First Saturdays). We not only honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus by imitating His love for Mary, but we also more perfectly consecrate ourselves and make reparation to Him by doing so to and through His Mother. Yet, how are we to practice these two wishes? On July 13, 1917, Our Lady said she would come again to ask for two specific ways that consecration and reparation are to be practiced in devotion to her Immaculate Heart as we shall see later.
Our Lady foretold many things which would take place if her wishes were not fulfilled. These things, including World War II, have occurred and have had a tremendous impact on the course of world history into the present century. The evil consequences of not heeding her requests continue to affect us. For this reason and others, it is imperative that we take Our Lady’s two wishes above seriously. The first wish, the consecration of Russia by the Holy Father and the bishops, has been fulfilled. Yet, the First Saturdays has not been fulfilled to any significant degree. When this wish is fulfilled, Our Lady promises the salvation of souls, and a period of peace in the world. Even beyond the period of peace, the First Saturdays will continue to be effective in bringing peace and salvation to those who fulfill Our Lady’s requests.
The promised period of peace gives us hope for some future period of history. More important, the period of peace continues a time for the nations and people to turn to God. A return to a Christian culture, “a civilization of love,” is more than possible. Yet, this time the promise of the period of peace implies that Christian culture will envelop the entire world, possibly reaching its peak in the conversion of the Jews. St. Paul said, “…a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25-26, cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 674). Grace will triumph over sin but not end it altogether. Yet, such a peace implies that many will be in the state of grace and so will give great glory to God. Still, our ultimate hope is in God Himself and in the second coming of His Son. It is only then that all the faithful will find a perfect and permanent peace in the vision of God. And every sin and tear will be wiped away (See Rev. 21:4). For the present, we are pilgrims on a journey to our true home, which is in Heaven.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Why is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary important?
As God and man, the Heart of Jesus, above all, represents His love for God and us. In this Heart we find our beginning and end, our peace and salvation. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is present at the very beginning of the Fatima message when the Angel first appeared to the children. Having taught the children the prayer, “My God, I believe…” the Angel said, “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” Yet, the visions related to the message of Fatima culminate in the vision of the mystery of the Holy Trinity in 1929. We see in this vision that, upon the Cross, Jesus acts as mediator between the Holy Trinity and ourselves. We also see that Jesus continues this mediation in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus’ wounded side is understood to signify the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our Lady stands beneath the Cross showing her Immaculate Heart pierced with thorns. For a more detailed description of the visions related to the message of Fatima, please the Story of Fatima and especially the Fatima and the First Saturdays book.
We should then be in search of the best possible way to unite ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Heart of Mary is a mother’s heart, being the Mother of God and Mother of us all. Our Lady’s dignity as the Mother of God is the foundation of all devotion to her and to her Immaculate Heart. Everything we can say about Mary or any honor we render to her must start with the fact that she is the Mother of God. Mary’s Motherhood began in her Heart and she fulfills the role of Motherhood from that same Heart. If we truly think of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is impossible not to think of God and her Son Jesus Who is God. The very thought of the Immaculate Heart of Mary should unite us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Mary’s Heart is the Heart that responds fully to the Heart of Jesus, as her Child, the God-Man, and to His love for her. She is the model for loving Him (See Lumen Gentium, n. 65). This love is represented by her Immaculate Heart, and our devotion to this Heart calls us to the love of Jesus. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is also important then because we find in her a model for loving Jesus.
In Mary’s very being and her Heart we see a reflection of God’s beauty. In her we see God’s spotless masterpiece of all mere creatures. “For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (Wis. 7:26). In honoring her Heart, we honor the One Who created her.
The Heart of Mary is the Heart of our Mother. Our Blessed Mother loves us with a maternal Heart in a way that is beyond our understanding. Yet, that love was unmistakable in the way Our Lady suffered for us, especially in her Heart. For Mary’s Heart was pierced by a sword that our hearts might be revealed (Lk. 2:35). So, our devotion to Mary should be in response to her Divine Maternity and her love for us. This response to her is not only of love but also of justice because of our debt to her as our Mother and the need to make amends for the offenses that have pierced her Heart.
Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Why is it important to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven…This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another’s reputation” (n. 2487). By offering our sacrifices to God we can make reparation for sin. When we are forgiven, we must still repair the damage that results from our sins. In addition, when we offer our sacrifices to God in reparation for the sins of others, our supplications become more efficacious for the conversion of sinners. In other words, as we increase our love for others through reparation, our prayer becomes more powerful in obtaining the graces of salvation for them. Reparation for the sins of others can be offered as an act of love, and yet also as an act restoring justice between God and others, it repairs the damage of sin. There are other closely related words for reparation such as atonement, expiation, propitiation, penance, restitution, amends, and satisfaction.
Our Lord Jesus Christ alone could pay an infinite price for our sins on the Cross. Yet since Our Lord suffered and died because of our sins (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 598), reparation (satisfaction) to God for those sins is required on our part (See Mt. 12:58-59, Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1459). Still, the suffering of Our Lord meant that Our Lady would also suffer and be offended in her Immaculate Heart, because of our sins, while fulfilling her maternal role as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate. This injustice to the innocent Mother of God by our sins requires reparation. As St. Albert the Great, Doctor of the Church, said, “as we are under great obligation to Jesus for His Passion endured for our love, so we are under great obligation to Mary for what she suffered by compassion for our salvation in the death of her Son” (Sup. Miss. q. cl. Resp. ad q. cxlviii). Mary’s Heart continues to be offended, and this requires reparation also. Reparation is an essential part of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We cannot say we love our neighbors if we are unwilling to make amends for our offenses against them. Among our neighbors, after Jesus, we are most indebted to our Blessed Mother.
The Child Jesus said, “have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation” (December 10, 1925). Another word for “compassion,” is the word mercy. In fact, the practice of mercy begins with having mercy on the Sacred Heart of Jesus who beheld our every act during His Passion and is in need of being consoled. Jesus fervently seeks that we have mercy on the Heart of His Mother. So, have mercy on the Heart of your Mother. Having mercy on the Heart of our Mother is another excellent way of having mercy on the Heart of Jesus.
In an answer to a question as to why there are five First Saturdays to fulfill for the grace of our salvation, Jesus said that there are five ways of offending the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All of these are offenses against justice, truth, and reputation, which are mentioned by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as requiring reparation. We can remove these thorns with acts of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, not only for our own sins, but also for those of others in a special way by fulfilling the First Saturdays.
Keep in mind that we can only fulfill the First Saturdays if we are faithful to our weekly obligation to the Sunday liturgy and to the Holy Days of obligation. The First Saturdays teach us to be better prepared for those special days as well as incline us to do more on other days. Of course, we are called to follow Jesus daily, to be His disciples.
For more information, please see The Communal First Saturdays book.
Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays
What is the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays?
On July 13, 1917, Our Lady said that she would come again to ask for “the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays.” On December 10, 1925, the Child Jesus and Mary did come to Sr. Lucia. The Child Jesus spoke first saying:
Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation. Mary then said, My daughter, look at My Heart surrounded with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every 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 all the graces necessary for salvation all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.
Church practice shows the connection between Holy Communion and reparation for sin by granting a plenary indulgence (the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin) for those who practice a specific devotion under the usual conditions. The usual conditions include the reception of Holy Communion, the reception of the sacrament of Penance, rejection of all sin, and prayers for the Holy Father. So, by a plenary indulgence, the Church is encouraging a more frequent participation in the sacrament of Penance and the reception of Holy Communion. The Church is also implying that combining the specified devotion with these two sacraments has the greatest potential for the faithful in making reparation for the temporal punishment due to sin.
More specifically, a “Communion of reparation,” as introduced by Our Lady in the Fatima secret, refers to receiving Jesus in Holy Communion with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the sins that have pierced her Heart. All sin offends God and needs to be repaired. Yet, after those sins directly against the Persons of the Holy Trinity and the Sacred Humanity of Christ, those sins against Our Lady are the most offensive to the Divine Majesty. These sins present a major obstacle to our Mother’s mediation for the sinner. For if the sinner fails to make reparation for his or her own sins against Our Lady, a certain injustice remains in the sinner’s soul rendering him or her ill-disposed or less disposed to the grace of the Holy Spirit. The First Saturdays offer us an excellent opportunity to remedy this injustice to Our Lady.
The Holy Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our Christian life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1324-1327). Is there a need for any other practice to accompany a Communion of reparation? Our Lady, by her request for the “Communion of reparation” in the form of the First Saturdays, wished to include other practices, such as Confession, the Rosary, and the separate 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary while keeping her company. These other practices can help make our reception of Jesus in Holy Communion much more fruitful. These other practices are primarily intended to make us more disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist as a Sacrament, which can cause an increase in the grace of union with Jesus and the faithful in the Mystical Body of Christ. (In addition, the Sacrament of Penance not only disposes us to the reception of the Holy Eucharist but is also a cause of grace.) At the same time, the Holy Eucharist is able to be received in reparation for sin. Yet, these other practices not only dispose us to receive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully but are also able to make reparation for sin, and, in this case, sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Each of the four practices, including the reception of Holy Communion, needs to be fulfilled with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the same time, Our Lady could refer to this devotion originally as a “Communion of reparation” because all the practices of the devotion are ordered to one end, namely the fruitful reception of Jesus in Holy Communion with the added intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Again this intention is not meant to take away from the primacy of the act of love that unites us to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. On the contrary, reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary makes it possible for us to be joined more perfectly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Holy Communion.
It is interesting to see that together with revealing the secret on July 13, 1917, Our Lady also taught the children two prayers. Besides the prayer to be said after each decade of the Rosary, Our Lady also taught the children a prayer to be said whenever they would offer a sacrifice. “O Jesus this is for love of you, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” This prayer certainly relates well to the reception of Holy Communion on the First Saturdays. This prayer emphasizes both love for Jesus which is also our primary act in receiving Holy Communion as a sacrament, and the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which also pertains to a Communion of reparation.
Also, by fulfilling five consecutive First Saturdays, the faithful can obtain Our Lady’s additional and second promise to assist them “at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation.” Nonetheless, the “Communion of reparation” and the other three practices, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, should not be understood as being limited to five consecutive First Saturdays. The reason is that Our Lady first promised the salvation of souls and “a certain period of peace” if her wishes were fulfilled. This first promise of July 13, 1917 calls for us to persevere in making the First Saturdays.
For more detailed explanation, please see The Communal First Saturdays book.
Why are there five First Saturdays?
There are five First Saturdays because, as Our Lord told Sr. Lucia:
My daughter the motive is simple: there are 5 ways in which people offend and blaspheme against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. The blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
2. Against her Virginity.
3. Against the Divine Maternity, refusing at the same time to accept her as the Mother of all mankind.
4. Those who publicly seek to instill in the children’s hearts, indifference, contempt, and even hatred against the Immaculate Mother.
5. Those who offend her directly in her Sacred Images.
(Jesus to Sr. Lucia, May 29, 1930)
Summary of Motives for Fulfilling the First Saturdays
On July 13, 1917, Our Lady said she would come to make two special requests:
Our Lady’s 1st request was for the consecration of Russia by the Pope and bishops to her Immaculate Heart which was done.
- This opened the way for the end of the persecution in Russia as Jesus promised Sr. Lucia in 1930, and also for the return of religious freedom in Russia.
- Yet, the consecration alone does not suffice to bring about the conversion of Russia and the period of peace.
- The consecration is the 1st of two phases leading toward Russia’s conversion, which is yet to come.
Our Lady’s 2nd request was for the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays.
- The fulfillment of this request is the 2nd phase leading to the conversion of Russia and the period of peace.
- Few people practice the First Saturdays, and few of these understand and fulfill all the conditions.
- It is the People of God in some significant number who must fulfill the request for the First Saturdays.
- An increase in the salvation of souls will follow.
The First Saturdays devotion is important because:
- Souls are going to hell. To save them Our Lady made known at Fatima that God wants to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the world (July 13, 1917).
- The First Saturdays is one of two special requests Our Lady made for devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
- Of Our Lady’s two special requests, only the First Saturdays remains to be fulfilled.
- Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an essential part of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the intention of the First Saturdays.
- Through the First Saturdays, Our Lady leads us to the Eucharistic Heart of her Son Jesus in a most special way.
- Fulfilling the First Saturdays is a way to save souls and to bring about a period of peace in the world.
- Receiving the Communion of reparation together with fulfilling all the other practices of the First Saturdays (Confession, Rosary, separate meditation), each with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, makes the Communion of reparation the most powerful way of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a matter of love and justice, and this reparation is necessary for the flow of mercy and grace into the world.
- The First Saturdays consoles the Immaculate Heart of Mary and therefore consoles the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a most special way.
The First Saturdays devotion is Our Lady’s solution to the problems in the world today.
- So many sins that have offended Our Lady have prevented us from receiving the graces we need for salvation and peace.
- Making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary helps clear away the obstacles that prevent grace from reaching us, and it leads to the outpouring of grace upon us.
- In referring to the First Saturdays in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Child Jesus said, “Have you spread throughout the world, that which the Heavenly Mother requested?” (February 15, 1926)
- The First Saturdays will act as the torch that lights the flame of the Holy Spirit in many hearts.
Does the First Saturdays devotion contribute to the new evangelization?
Let us first read some of St. John Paul II’s words regarding the new evangelization:
Over the years, I have often repeated the summons to the new evangelization. I do so again now, especially in order to insist that we must rekindle in ourselves the impetus of the beginnings and allow ourselves to be filled with the ardor of the apostolic preaching which followed Pentecost. We must revive in ourselves the burning conviction of Paul, who cried out: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel’ (1 Cor. 9:16)” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 40).
St. John Paul II also tells us in his document Christifideles Laici:
Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations (n. 34).
Careful reflection reveals that the First Saturdays helps to bring about this remaking of the Christian fabric by forming and sanctifying the faithful.
Benedict XVI confirmed the words of St. John Paul II when he established the Pontifical Council for promoting the new evangelization. “Although this task directly concerns the Church’s way of relating ad extra, it nevertheless presupposes first of all a constant interior renewal, a continuous passing, so to speak, from evangelized to evangelizing” (Ubicumque et Semper). No evangelization is possible without this interior renewal. Heaven has designed the First Saturdays of reparation to help satisfy this very need by bringing together key spiritual realities traceable to the Deposit of Faith. These key spiritual realities are contained in the four practices of the First Saturdays for the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It could be said that our age requires a more powerful medicine by combining participation in the Holy Eucharist with Confession, the Rosary, and the 15 minute meditation in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in her company. Certainly the Eucharist by itself is already infinite in power. Yet in the presence of the other practices and the intention of the First Saturdays, we are more disposed to receive of that infinite power. In addition, the reparation made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary clears a path to union with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Thus, in this way, a more powerful medicine has been given in the form of the First Saturdays. This healing medicine, in turn, prepares the Church for the new evangelization.
It is helpful to examine further the ways in which the First Saturdays can contribute to the new evangelization. “To nourish ourselves with the word in order to be ‘servants of the word’ in the work of evangelization: this is surely a priority for the Church at the dawn of the new millennium” (St. John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 40). This nourishing with the word of God is a special contribution of the Communal First Saturdays, especially in the recommended order of devotion one may follow in the Communal First Saturdays. This nourishing of the word is achieved in the Holy Mass and can be achieved in the sacrament of Penance as well. This nourishing of the word can be achieved by praying the Rosary, and also by the separate 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary while keeping Our Lady company. It is recommended that one enrich this meditation with biblical passages related to the mysteries of the Rosary. (To make better use of the Scripture texts, we apply lectio divina, an ancient method and practice for meditation on Scripture highly recommended by the Church.
Yet the Church also tells us that we must be nourished by the “Bread of Life,” the Holy Eucharist, as well as the word. Again the Holy Eucharist is the very center of the First Saturdays and the fount from which the new evangelization must flow. Finally, the sacrament of Penance prepares us to receive the Holy Eucharist with a greater spiritual capacity which in turn contributes greatly to evangelization. Holiness will flourish in the Church when the sacrament of Penance also flourishes among the people of God.
It follows that if the First Saturdays of reparation nourishes the new evangelization, then to spread this devotion is itself a work of evangelization. This work of the First Saturdays is carried on under the banner of Our Lady of Fatima (Our Lady of the Rosary) who wore a star on her dress and the same one who Pope John Paul II called the “Star of the New Evangelization,” Our Blessed Mother (Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 40). By this “Star” we will be led safely into the harbor of peace.
The Communal First Saturdays is such a work of new evangelization in that it spreads the First Saturdays in a most special way. The mission of the Communal First Saturdays Apostolate is to establish and sustain the Communal First Saturdays liturgy and devotion in Catholic parishes, shrines, and other venues as a way of bringing about salvation of souls and world peace. The Communal First Saturdays, the communal form of celebrating the First Saturdays, makes it easier for a larger number of people to practice the First Saturdays and fulfill the conditions requested. The communal form will also make it easier for the faithful to persevere in an ongoing practice of the devotion and also be a means through which the entire Fatima message and the Rosary may be better promoted. The Communal First Saturdays provides a consistent, reliable, and tested method of fulfilling the First Saturdays that can be replicated throughout the world. For more information please see the Communal First Saturdays tab, the book, The Communal First Saturdays, and the pamphlet, The Communal First Saturdays.