Are you still looking for a resolution for 2021? I’d like to introduce you to a devotion that you can start any month of the year, and which can have powerful effects on both your unique and irreplaceable soul and for the state of the world.
That may sound like an overstatement, but you don’t have to take my word for it. The Five First Saturdays devotion was requested by Our Lady of Fátima in 1925, and it remains a powerful spiritual practice, though one not nearly enough people are familiar with.
Numbers often have significance in Catholic tradition, so you are probably wondering why Our Lady asked for this devotion to be offered over the course of five months, though you can certainly continue it beyond that.
In 1930, Our Lady explained to Sister Lucia dos Santos — one of the three visionaries of Fátima — that there are five offenses against her Immaculate Heart that require reparation: “blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception; against her Virginity; against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive her as the Mother of mankind; those who seek publicly to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother; [and] those who revile her directly in her sacred images.” As my devotion to the Blessed Mother has grown over the years, so has my heartbreak at these offenses against her. I’m grateful there’s a part I can play in consoling her.
There are a couple of elements to the devotion, but they are all relatively simple and, for the most part, accessible. In Our Lady’s words, one must “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” on the first Saturday of five successive months. It’s not imperative that confession happen on that day as long as it’s soon before or after, and as long as Communion is received in a state of grace.
Our family has begun to incorporate this devotion into our living, in that we all go to Mass every Saturday morning, and my oldest son and I strive to go to confession the first Saturday of each month. We try to say some or all of the Rosary as a family on car trips or at bedtime, as well.
Having a monthly confession appointment, as it were, means my son and I know when to expect the trip to church, and we rarely go more than a few weeks before receiving this sacrament again. It’s also something my younger children can look forward to participating in once they are of age. It has been a great help to our family to have this standing appointment with the Lord.
Having a “confession buddy” has gone a long way in making sure I prioritize this sacrament. If this devotion is something you feel called to, I would recommend upgrading that to a “First Five Saturdays” buddy — whether it’s your child, a friend, your mom, your boyfriend or husband — since this accountability can help you see this devotion through to completion and further console Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
Due to the pandemic, Catholics face different restrictions, depending on their diocese. But the First Five Saturdays is still something to strive for. Confessions are happening in people’s cars. Masses are live-streamed, with options for Communion thereafter. The Rosary and meditation can happen anywhere.
In a time when we may feel helpless or hopeless about the state of the world, Our Blessed Mother has an answer for us. When we come to her, we can be sure that, as Mediatrix of Graces, she will come to our aid and help guide us ever closer to peace with her son.
Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God, wife, mother, writer, and editor. She’s the author of “Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God” and the host of the weekly podcast, “Quote Me.” Learn more about Lindsay’s work and her speaking ministry at LindsaySchlegel.com, and connect with her on Instagram, @lindsayschlegs and @quoteme_podcast.