A Mother's Heart
"I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation of the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace ... " — Our Lady of Fatima, July 13, 1917
This year, we celebrate the memorial of the Immaculate Heart on July 28, the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart! When asked why the feasts of the Sacred and Immaculate Heart are celebrated right next to each other, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, explained, "We say figuratively that the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts beat and live as one. Mary's Immaculate Heart is in complete union with the Sacred Heart, the Heart of God. When you liturgically celebrate something back-to-back like that, it helps us to realize that union. If the feasts were six months apart, we might not even think about the other heart. Physically, we wouldn't have the Sacred Heart of Jesus were it not for the Immaculate Heart of Mary because He gets His flesh from her flesh."
"St. John Eudes was the main promoter of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary," Fr. Donald continued. "He wrote a phenomenal book called The Admirable Heart of Mary that talks about the importance of imitating her heart." We have the present feast of the Immaculate Heart largely thanks to St. John Eudes' efforts.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart was given a new prominence in the wake of the Marian apparitions at Fatima and Our Lady's promise: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph...and a period of peace will be granted to the world." How will this happen?
"Our Lady came and asked for specific things at Fatima," said Fr. Calloway. "If we listened to her and did what she asked, there would be peace in the world. Among her requests were for us all to pray the Rosary every day, including peace in the world as one of our intentions; wearing the brown scapular; the consecration of Russia and each of us individually to Mary's Immaculate Heart; doing our daily duties; and making reparation for sins, especially by observing something called the Five First Saturdays of Reparation."
Our Lady of Fatima explained those Five First Saturdays to Sr. Lucia Santos, one of the Fatima visionaries, on Dec. 10, 1925:
See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that 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 me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the ... mysteries of the Rosary.
The practice of the First Saturdays consists of doing the following elements, performed with the intention of reparation, for five consecutive months:
• Confession (shortly before or after the First Saturday — so long as the person receives Holy Communion in a state of grace);
• Holy Communion received on the First Saturday;
• the Holy Rosary, five decades recited sometime during the day; and
• meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary (one or more).
For anyone who visits the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on the First Saturday of each month, it's easy! Pilgrims can go to Confession, pray the Rosary for Life, and attend the Shrine Mass with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady as she requested. To fulfill the requirement to meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary, you can prayerfully walk the Stations of the Cross on Eden Hill for at least 15 minutes, remaining aware of keeping Our Lady company in spirit throughout her Son's Passion and Death.
"Let's make reparation together to the Immaculate Heart by being faithful to the Five First Saturdays, and help Our Lady spread grace, peace, and healing throughout all the world," Fr. Calloway concluded.
To learn more about Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima, Fr. Calloway recommends Fatima for Today (Product Code FATIM2) by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR. See also our pamphlet I Am the Lady of the Rosary (in English, product code ILR; in Spanish, product code ILRS), available through our online catalog or by calling 1-800-462-7426.