It’s the first Saturday in the month of May—Our Lady’s month—in the midst of worldwide crisis not unlike war. Now seems the time to take a closer look at Our Lady’s directives in Fatima about how to obtain peace, and to actually do it.
The world is in need of peace, and the world is made up of individuals in need of peace. The two are intricately linked, of course. Peace is sought-after, yet it cannot be bought or sold, or earned or achieved. But it can be received.
Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is the source of the peace we seek.
When Our Lady visited Fatima in the midst of the First World War, she brought a message and a prescription for peace. Not a self-help checklist promising supernatural peace by natural means, but, rather, promising supernatural peace through supernatural relationships.
The First Saturday Devotion, as it is called, came as a direct request of Our Lady as a means to form her children—that’s us—in loving relationships with God and with her. Maybe if we see it through the lens of attaining and maintaining these fundamental relationships, it will be easier to actually do it.
What she asked for was this: once a month, on the first Saturday, make a good confession. Now, we all know that in building and deepening relationships we must have honesty as a foundation. That sincere “I am sorry” goes a long, long way to heal the past and prepare a way for the future. These days, a sincere self-inventory and heartfelt apology to God, with the resolution to go to sacramental confession when it’s possible, will do just fine. A good confession made—step one to deep inner peace.
Next, she asked for Holy Communion. Yes, Spiritual Communion will suffice. Trust me, she understands. We need God. We are tempted to operate under an illusion of self-sufficiency, but that illusion needs to be annihilated once and for all. We need God. Like we need food—only infinitely more. Communion, spiritual or actual, puts us in communion with the One we need, the One we love—the One Who loves us!
Then there is the praying of the Holy Rosary: this, too, she asked. The Rosary has suffered criticism for, among other things, being repetitious. Praying the Holy Rosary with beads in hand and prayers almost chanted, while actually applying the mind to meditation on the mysteries, allows body, mind and soul to be united as you are drawn into deeper relationship with the Persons on whom you fix your gaze while praying it. Did you know that praying the Rosary releases the saving power of its mysteries? Wouldn’t now be a good time to at least give it a try?
The last piece of the First Saturday Devotion is keeping Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. I find this request most touching. Our Lady is Our Mother. She wants us to come and be with her. She is available to listen and available to assist us, and God has given her the ability to do so. Are we missing out on the most tender, loving, helpful relationship known to man—the very thing we most need right now? This tender Mother also happens to be the Seat of Wisdom. Why don’t we go to her for say, everything? In his book on Fatima, Fr. Andrew had this to say about the 15 minutes: “Our Lady wants us to begin by meditation (reflecting) on the various mysteries of the Rosary, but then end in a kind of heart-to-heart talk with her about what we reflect on.”
So far, this all sounds very personal. The First Saturday Devotion as a personal plan to develop your relationship with God and Our Lady in concrete ways that result in the inner peace that you so long for. And so it is—but there is more. Once you enter into Our Lady’s School of Formation you begin to change. And the disciple cannot escape becoming like the teacher. You will soon find yourself with clearer vision to see things a bit more as Heaven sees them. Now the piece about reparation can be added.
All of this prayer is meant to be offered for the world.
Our Lady is well aware of our personal quest for inner peace. And, she is further aware of the implications of a world full of people overcome by the disquiet and turmoil that the absence of peace brings. When Jesus Christ, the only source of lasting peace, is scorned and rejected, or simply dismissed and ignored, the quest for peace turns to harmful and destructive things, and the soul empty of God will be filled by something or someone else. Only once our soul is filled with the peace of the Risen Christ, with our vision clear and our heart expanded, are we capable to intercede for our brothers and sisters and participate in their salvation.
Our Lady has a list of offensive things we can make reparation for (see Fatima for Today by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, for all the details), but until we see things from a Heavenly and eternal perspective, we won’t care enough to make reparation with our whole heart. Until we change, our care doesn’t stretch past ourselves and our closest relations. But we are capable of this heart- and- soul expanding change; it is happening right now, as a deeper solidarity is being forged through the world amidst our common suffering.
Now is the time for the FIRST SATURDAY DEVOTION – not as spiritual accomplishment inventory, but as a School of Formation to gain a peace within your own soul and for the world, so desperately in need of peace.
Making Reparation for Those Who: Speak and teach against:
1. Her Immaculate Conception
2. Her Perpetual Virginity
3. Her Divine Maternity and refuse to receive
4. Her as Mother of mankind and
5. For those who draw children away from her and for those who revile her holy images. First Saturday at a Glance - Five consecutive first Saturdays - Confession - Holy Communion - Rosary - 15 minutes with Our Lady
Mother Clare, CFR