From the Pastor: First Friday and First Saturday
This week concludes with the First Friday and the First Saturday of September. Many Catholics have never heard of the great “First” devotions and many others who have heard of them have never really understood them or known the difference between them. Today I want to either introduce you to these devotions or else remind you of them, as the case may be, and encourage you to participate if at all possible in both of them. The 9 First Fridays devotions are the older of the two, dating back to the holy St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) while the 5 First Saturdays devotions go back only(!) about a century, to Sr. Lucia dos Santos, one of the Fatima visionaries, on Dec. 10, 1925. A short explanation of both:
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque spoke with Our Lord, as many true mystics of the Church have done since biblical times (for those skeptics who don't believe that this happens, ask how they explain Chapter 26 of the Acts of the Apostles, wherein we read: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. And I said: Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord answered: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise up, and stand upon thy feet: for to this end have I appeared to thee, that I may make thee a minister, and a witness of those things which thou hast seen, and of those things wherein I will appear to thee, Delivering thee from the people, and from the nations, unto which now I send thee: To open their eyes, that they may be converted from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a lot among the saints, by the faith that is in me.) One of the messages she received from Him came in the form of a promise.
“I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last moment.” — Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary
Now I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a pretty good deal to me! It is not magic but is a call to holiness, a call to make a sacrifice to attend a (usually) non-obligatory Mass on a particular Saturday for nine consecutive months, along with a request for prayers in honor of and in reparation to Our Lord’s Sacred Heart, that is, the seat of His Love. Twelve Promises have been culled out of St. Margaret Mary’s writings, although they never appeared in a list anywhere, for those who fulfill this simple, holy request.
1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
2. "I will establish peace in their homes."
3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
6. "Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored."
10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."
The Five First Saturdays were explained, not by Jesus but by His Mother Mary, to Sr. Lucia.
“See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, 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.”
These five First Saturdays are to battle five blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the seat of her Love.
First: blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2nd: blasphemies against her Virginity
3rd: blasphemies against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive her as the Mother of mankind
4th: those who seek publicly to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother
5th: those who revile her directly in her sacred images
Find more online! Come and join us for these Masses of devotion.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka