On July 13, 1917, during Our Lady’s third apparition at Fatima, She 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”. She continued:
“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, she 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 of the month was fulfilled. Sr. Lucia (one of the three shepherd children to whom Our Lady appeared) gave the following account, speaking of herself in the third person:
“On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her (Sr. Lucia), 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. Lucia 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”.
How to Carry Out the Request for Five First Saturdays Devotion
The following is an explanation of the conditions contained in Our Lady’s request regarding the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays of the Month.
- Confess and receive Holy Communion
On February 15, 1926 the Child Jesus alone came to visit Sr. Lucia and asked if the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was being propagated. Sr. Lucia spoke of a difficulty some people have in confessing on the first Saturday, and asked if they might be allowed eight days in order to fulfil Our Lady’s requests. Jesus answered: “Yes, even more time still, as long as they receive Me in the state of grace and have the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.
- Recite the Rosary
Five decades of the Rosary may be recited at any time or place; yet, since one will be attending Mass in order to receive Holy Communion, a very desirable time and place would be before or after Mass in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Meditation on the mysteries according to one’s capacity is an essential condition for praying the Rosary. Yet, involuntary distractions do not rob the Rosary of fruit if one is doing the best he or she can.
- “Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary”.
The question is often asked: Does the meditation while reciting the Rosary fulfil this condition, or is there required an additional fifteen minutes of meditation? That an additional 15 minutes of meditation is required was recently confirmed by Sr. Lucia of Fatima. It is clear too from a statement by the first Bishop of Fatima.
The last entry in the chronology of Fatima, published in the official Calendar of the Sanctuary for the year of 1940, and signed by Dom Jose Correia da Silva, the first Bishop of Fatima, gave a summary of Our Lady’s requests concerning the Five First Saturdays. From that official statement in the Calendar of the Sanctuary, we read the Bishop’s enumeration of the various items that pertain to the devotion of the five first Saturdays:
It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
The meditation embraces one or more mysteries; it may even include all, taken together or separately, according to individual devotion; but it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month.
Speaking of the requirement of “keeping me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary”, the Bishop’s comment that “it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month” could apply only to an extra fifteen minutes, for each decade of the Rosary must have its own particular meditation. This is clear from the definition of the Rosary given in the official document of the Church on indulgences, the ENCHIRIDION OF INDULGENCES published by Pope Paul VI in 1968. It describes the Rosary as follows:
“The Rosary is a certain formula of prayer, which is made up of fifteen decades of HAIL MARYS with an OUR FATHER before each decade, and in which the recitation of each decade is accompanied by pious meditation on a particular mystery of our Redemption”. (n. 48)
A new set of 5 mysteries, termed “the Luminous Mysteries” were added by Pope John Paul II in 2002 bringing the total mysteries of the Rosary to 20.
Like the Rosary, this meditation may be made any time or place during the first Saturday. Yet again, like the Rosary, a very fitting time and place would be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament before or after Mass. The question has been asked: “Would an extra Rosary, which would require about fifteen minutes, fulfil this request?” It would seem, if fruitfully meditated, that it would. Or again, the time could be spent reading meditatively on one of the fifteen mysteries, which is a form of mental prayer that involves reading with frequent pauses to reflect on the matter read.
- With the intention of making reparation.
All of the conditions mentioned above – in numbers 1 to 3 – should be fulfilled with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On the occasion of the visit of the Child Jesus to Sr. Lucia (Feb. 16, 1926), she asked: “My Jesus, what about those who forget to make the intention?” Jesus answered: “They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of their first opportunity to go to Confession”.
The above are the minimum requirements for fulfilling the conditions of Our Lady’s promise to obtain for us “at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation”.
The Fatima message during the pontificate of Pius XI and World War I when about 20 million people died, is more relevant and more urgent now for our time! When people continued to sin after Her apparitions and did not heed Her requests, a worse world war (World War II) broke out resulting in about 50 million deaths! To date, worse sins have come out; many people have not stopped offending God and worst of all, Her second request (Communion of Reparation to Her Immaculate Heart on Five First Saturdays of the month) remains unheeded!
Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mother Mary on March 25, 1984! As a result, Communism collapsed and Russia’s gradual conversion started. However, its full conversion as well as the salvation of poor sinners and world peace through the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are also dependent upon having enough people to carry out Her request for the Communion of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturdays now before it becomes too late! It must be popularized, continuously prayed and practiced worldwide like the daily rosary!
Prof. Michael Ogunu
President and Coordinator of the
World Apostolate of Fatima