On July 13, 1917, at Fátima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary said to the three pastorinhos, Lúcia, Francisco, and Jacinta:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace... I shall come to ask for... the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays....”
On December 10, 1925, in a Dorothean convent in Pontevedra, Spain, Sister Lúcia Santos, a postulant and last surviving Fatima visionary, received a visit from the Mother of God. She describes the visit in her memoirs:
“... suddenly the room lit up and it was the light of my dear Mother in Heaven who came with the Child Jesus on a luminous cloud. Our Lady, as if wanting to instill courage, rested her hand on my shoulder, and as she did so, showed me her Immaculate Heart encircled by thorns which she was holding in her other hand.
“The Child Jesus 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 Our Lady said: ‘Look, my daughter, at my Heart surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me 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, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.’”
“After this grace, how could I keep myself from the least sacrifice that God asks of me to console the Heart of my beloved Mother in Heaven, happy that Mary depletes the bitter drops of the Chalice.”
In a separate vision a few months later, Jesus explained the five Saturdays to Sister Lúcia:
“My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception;
2. Blasphemies against Her Virginity;
3. Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men;
4. The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference, or scorn or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother;
5. The offenses of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images. Here, my daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of reparation.
Then you have to start over. As Jesus said to Sr. Lúcia,
“It is true, my daughter, that many souls begin the First Saturdays, but few finish them, and those who do complete them do so in order to receive the graces that are promised thereby. It would please me more if they did Five with fervour and with the intention of making reparation to the Heart of your heavenly Mother, than if they did Fifteen, in a tepid and indifferent manner…” (15th February 1926)
Sister Lúcia asked Jesus about this, and He said,
“The practice of this devotion will be equally accepted on the Sunday following the first Saturday, when, for just reasons, My priests will allow it.”
Obviously, if you can go to Mass on Saturday, do. But if your parish doesn't have Saturday morning or afternoon Mass, for instance, then go Sunday, but be sure to ask permission of your pastor.
*Note: Saturday vigil Masses will count with permission of your pastor. But this option should only be used if you don't have a Saturday morning Mass available. We're not seeking convenience here.
Sister asked Jesus about this, too:
“My Jesus! Many souls find it difficult to confess on Saturday. Will Thou allow a confession within eight days to be valid?"
“He replied: "Yes. It can even be made later on, provided that the souls are in the state of grace when they receive Me on the First Saturday and that they had the intention of making reparation to the Sacred Heart of Mary."
No. Give her another fifteen minutes. As Sister Lucia wrote to her mother in 1927:
“The fifteen minutes [of meditation], is what can, it seems to me, give you difficulty; but it is quite easy. Who after all cannot contemplate the mysteries of the Rosary…Who cannot spend fifteen minutes in these holy thoughts, near the most tender of mothers?" (Letter to her mother, Maria Rosa, July 24, 1927)
Sister Lúcia later wrote to her godmother:
“It seems to me, my dear godmother, that we are fortunate to be able to give Our dear Heavenly Mother this proof of love, for we know that She desires it to be offered to Her. As for myself, I avow that I am never so happy as when first Saturday arrives. Isn’t it true that our greatest happiness is to belong entirely to Jesus and Mary and to love Them and Them alone, without reserve? We see this so clearly in the lives of the saints… They were happy because they loved, and we, my dear godmother, we must seek to love as they did, not only to enjoy Jesus, which is the least important — because if we do not enjoy Him here below, we will enjoy Him up above — but to give Jesus and Mary the consolation for being loved… and that in exchange for this love they might be able to save many souls.”
Image: Aparición a la Hermana Lucía by Raul Berzosa, used with permission of the artist