Tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month and therefore it is fitting to provide a brief explanation of this devotion, which is of central importance to the life of the Church today.
On July 13, 1917, during the third apparition at Fatima, Our Lady warned that if mankind did not repent God was “going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
“To forestall 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 they heed My requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world.”
In 1925 the promise that Our Lady would come to request the Communion of Reparation on First Saturdays was fulfilled. Sr Lucy gave the following account, speaking of herself in the third person:
“On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her, and by Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin rested Her hand on her shoulder, and as She did so, She showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which She was holding in Her other hand. At the same time, the Child said:
‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.’
“Then the Most Holy Virgin said:
‘Look My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console Me, and announce in My Name that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months, confess, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep Me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to Me.’”
In 1939 Sr Lucy further explained the importance of this devotion:
“Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration 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.”
Tragically, as Cardinal Burke reminded us recently:
“In fact, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary did not take place, as she requested, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays did not become the practice of the universal Church.”
Amongst the many terrible consequences of the failure of Catholics to adopt the practice of the First Saturdays, and of the popes to consecrate Russia as Our Lady requested, is the spiritual crisis that is shaking the Church to her foundations and the onslaught against the family, especially the mass killing of unborn children and the systematic corruption of children.
Cardinal Burke further explained:
“As horrible as are the physical chastisements associated with man’s disobedient rebellion before God, infinitely more horrible are the spiritual chastisements for they have to do with the fruit of grievous sin: eternal death. As is clear, only the Faith, which places man in the relationship of unity of heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, can save man from the spiritual chastisements which rebellion against God necessarily brings upon its perpetrators and upon the whole of both society and the Church.
“The teaching of the Faith in its integrity and with courage is the heart of the office of the Church’s pastors: the Roman Pontiff, the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, and their principal co-workers, the priests. For that reason, the Third Secret is directed, with particular force, to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church. Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant teaching and practice, whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach, and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church’s pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.”
In order to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart which, as Cardinal Burke stated, “will first be the victory of the Faith, which will put an end to the time of apostasy, and the great shortcomings of the Church’s pastors” we must fulfil Our Lady’s requests as best we can in our own lives. This means observing the five First Saturdays by:
- Going to confession
- Receiving Holy Communion
- Praying the rosary
- Meditating for fifteen minutes on one or more mysteries of the rosary
All of the above must be done with the intention of making reparation for offences against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“In the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph.”