He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him the morning star. (Rev. 2:26, 28)
May 10, 2017 The Memorial of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai
Time passed after the Miracle of the Sun and the world went through its revolutions. Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco were swept up in the Spanish flu epidemic in late 1918 and as Our Lady had told the children on June 13, 1917 both of them were soon gone to Heaven: Francisco in April, 1919 and Jacinta in February, 1920. They were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000 and will be canonized by Pope Francis this Saturday May 13, 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first Apparition.
Lucia was now alone in the world. But Our Lady did not leave her. The young Lucia would become a religious sister in the early 1920s joining the Sisters of St. Dorothy. After beginning her life in the convent at Pontevedra, Spain she recorded further Apparitions of Our Lord and Our Lady. Remember that on July 13, 1917 Our Lady informed the children that she would be coming to ask for the Communion of Reparation and for the Consecration of Russia. She was not asking for them that day, but she was informing the children, and Lucia most especially that she would be coming in the future to ask for these things.
I give here Lucia’s account of how this came about, in this post it will be specifically relating to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Communion of Reparation. Sister Lucia chose to write this account largely in the third person i.e. she uses ‘she’ to refer to herself. So here it is from Appendix I of Sister Lucia’s memoir, pp. 196-97 of Fatima in Lucia’s own words:
On December 17th, 1927, she went before the tabernacle to ask Jesus how she should comply with what had been asked of her, that is, to say if the origin of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was included in the Secret that the most holy Virgin had confided to her.
Jesus made her hear very distinctly these words: “My daughter, write what they ask of you. Write also all that the most holy Virgin revealed to you in the Apparition, in which she spoke of this devotion. As for the remainder of the Secret, continue to keep silence.”
What was confided on this subject in 1917, is as follows:
She asked for them to be taken to heaven, and the most holy Virgin answered: “Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and these souls will be loved God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”
“Am I to stay here all alone?” she asked, sadly.
“No, daughter. I shall never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
On December 10th, 1925, the most holy Virgin appeared to her, and by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child. 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 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 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 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 fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
Herein lies the Great Promise of the greatest and most marvelous and most wondrous thing in all Creation: the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the way that will lead you to God. This is the dwelling place that God created for Himself and it is our refuge in this perilous time as we traverse these darkening and storm tossed seas.
Practice the First Saturday devotion to the extent you can. It is a simple and easy thing that we can do to warm the Divine Heart of our Savior and to make reparation to the wounded Heart of his most holy Mother.
Some questions may arise on how to practice this devotion. First, you do not have to make Confession on the First Saturday. Jesus told Sister Lucia in a later Apparition on February 15th, 1926 that it was possible to confess eight days before or after the First Saturday, provided that one is not conscious of any mortal sin when they receive Him on the First Saturday and the first bishop of Fatima Dom Jose Correia da Silva confirmed this in 1940.
Second, the last bit about keeping the Blessed Mother company “for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary” is open to interpretation as to how one might practice it. First, this Apparition took place in 1925, almost eighty years before Pope Saint John Paul II made his recommendation about the new Luminous Mysteries so quite understandably the Blessed Virgin did not mention twenty, but fifteen.
But as to how to practice this aspect of the devotion Bishop da Silva stated in 1940 that “it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month.” And this makes sense. My own personal practice is to select a portion of the Gospel or the Acts of the Apostles or some other part of Sacred Scripture that pertains to a different Mystery each month.
The promises of Our Lady are great indeed to those who faithfully practice this devotion. Do it.