Our Lady of Fatima asked us to make the First Saturday Communion of Reparation to Her Immaculate Heart.
Her promise: "I promise to assist at the moment 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 fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me."
Jesus revealed to Sister Lucia the meaning of the five Saturdays by making known five ways in which people offend and blaspheme against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. Against her Immaculate Conception.
2. Against her Perpetual Virginity.
3. Against her Divine Maternity, while refusing to accept her as the Mother of all mankind
4. By those who try to publicly implant in the hearts of children indifference, contempt, and even hate against the Immaculate Mother.
5. By those who insult her directly in her sacred images.
Against her Immaculate Conception.
After Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, it seemed as if the devil had gained a victory against God. Here were two creatures created perfect, given a paradise in which to live but had disobeyed the one command God had given them. Yet God’s plan cannot be thwarted; He does not give up on humanity. He says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers; she will strike at your head while you strike at her heel.” Our Heavenly Father had in mind a woman, one who would be without sin, who would be at total enmity with the devil. She would be the one who would bring forth the Messiah to conquer sin and death. For her to be at enmity, she would have to be without sin, for the first woman had given into sin. Over four thousand years later, God sends the Angel Gabriel to this woman; he addresses her, “Hail, full of grace”. Mary was given this great grace of the Immaculate Conception in order to be a worthy dwelling place for God incarnate. It was not anything on her part but God’s pure gift. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen says, “When God became Man, I believe that He would make His Mother as nice as He could – and that would make her a perfect Mother.” The devil does not want us to honor Mary’s Immaculate Conception, this particular grace given to God’s Mother; here is a creature who has been untouched by sin, never in his grasp. Let us turn to our most pure Mother and seek her intercession in all things.
Mary’s Immaculate Conception is the grace given to prepare her for her role as the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Yet, she is not only Jesus’ Mother, she is our mother as well. At the Cross, the fifth Sorrowful Mystery, He called her “Woman” a name that hearkens back to Genesis 3:15. This time her motherhood comes with much sorrow for we her children do not always accept her motherly love; we think that we can manage fine without her. Yet it was our sins that led Jesus to the Cross and it was there that she stood so faithfully. Our sinless Mother participates in the salvation of humanity; we are called to make reparation for sins against her Immaculate Heart, especially attacks against her Immaculate Conception. This grace was secured for Mary in anticipation of the saving death of Jesus. Mary knew at the Cross that so many would still reject her son’s love as well as her tender motherly love.
St. John the Beloved related in his book of Revelation, “He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God.” The new Jerusalem, the Church, shone in all her splendor. Mary is what the Church is called to be. She is this beautiful bride coming down out of Heaven, adorned with the many graces of God. God prepared His Mother and now He takes her to Himself; we reflect on this in the fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption of Mary. We believe that as a result of the Immaculate Conception and the Divine Maternity, Mary was taken up at the conclusion of her earthly life into Heaven, body and soul. Never did corruption touch her pure soul. She is what we are all called to be; with her immaculate conception, she is not hindered from the things that divide us. She reigns in Heaven as our Queen but also as our Mother. We are called to defend our Mother and especially in her Immaculate Conception. This special grace given to her by God shows God’s great love for her and for us; the devil does not want us to see the love God or our Lady has for us. He does not want us to turn to Mary but Mary will not abandon us even though she is in Heaven for she will not rest until all her children are in Heaven. Let this prayer be continually on our lips, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Mary, Mother of the Son of God and our Mother, immaculately conceived, and full of grace, remains perpetually a virgin. Given the singular grace of her immaculate conception, made sinless so as to bear the Son of God in her womb and bring Him to birth into the world, Our Lady offers herself to God pure, holy, undivided in love, untouched by man. When the Angel comes to her at the Annunciation inviting her to be the Mother of God, her response “How can this be since I know not man?” makes it clear that from the very beginning she has the intention of preserving her virginity. In the words of the Church Fathers: “the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary was really and truly the Mother of God. Inasmuch as she , in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Word Himself, Who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate.” This choice to remain as “virgin before, during and after birth” is why the Church can say of her that she is the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Mary, the girl from Nazareth, guided by an exceptional inspiration of the Holy Spirit, chose from the beginning to live a virginal life so as to be pleasing to the Lord. She gave all of herself… body, mind, heart and soul without condition, a total gift of self. The desire of her whole being was to be all for Him and Him alone. We ask her to intercede for us so that God our Heavenly Father may preserve us in holiness, whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body and that we too may be irreproachable at the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the time of the Visitation, Elizabeth, moved by the Holy Spirit exclaims: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” With this proclamation, she makes known the fruitfulness that comes forth from the Woman who has chosen to place the gift of her virginity into the loving hands of the Father who cares for her. Mary, Most Holy, who intentionally offers herself so as to be for God alone, becomes the Virgin Mother bearing in her virginal womb the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
3. Against her Divine Maternity, while refusing to accept her as the Mother of all mankind.
The names with which Mary is addressed throughout the New Testament reveal to us her motherhood: she is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, that is, our mother. In the ancient Jewish world the name expressed the reality of the person: the identity and the mission. The first time Mary is addressed is by the angel Gabriel. (The angels are God's messengers, doing and saying only what God commands them to do and say.) The angel addresses Mary, "Hail, full of grace!" "'Full of grace' is the name Mary possesses in the eyes of God" (John Paul II, Theotokos, 88). Why has God given Mary this tremendous gift of grace even before the savior comes into the world? Precisely because Mary is to be the mother of the savior. Mary, from the first moment of her conception and from all eternity in the mind of God, was to be sinless so as to be a fitting dwelling place, an immaculate mother for the Son of God.
As recounted to us in the second joyful mystery, when Jesus is merely a few weeks old in her womb, Mary goes to Elizabeth to help her aged and pregnant kinswoman. Scripture says that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and greeting Mary with a blessing she continues, "Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" Even before the birth of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, she who was first hailed "full of grace" is recognized and proclaimed as Mother of God! As Mother of God it is her mission to bring Him to us. The third and fourth mysteries also firmly establish within our beliefs that Mary is the Mother of God.
In the fifth joyful mystery, when Jesus is found in the Temple after three days, the mystery of Mary's motherhood begins to widen. Coming upon Jesus in the Temple. Mary addresses Him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." She herself claims her rightful position; she calls him 'son' and couples herself with His legal father, Joseph. His vocal replay does not acknowledge the importance of this merely physical relationship (though we are told that He returned to Nazareth and was obedient to them). In fact, His vocal reply seems to be a rebuff. He answers, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" Jesus is deepening Mary's understanding of His mission and consequently her own mission as well. He does not acknowledge the importance of the physical relationship, but He does point to His true Father. He is preparing her for the day in Cana and again from the Cross when He will address her as "Woman". As the "woman" of Genesis, who being at enmity with satan brought forth the savior that would crush the serpent's head, her mission is universalized and as the "woman" of Genesis, she, more than Eve, will be the mother of all the living. This reality was formalized at the foot of the Cross, when looking down on Mary and John, Jesus says, "Woman, behold your son, " and to John, "Behold your mother." Yes, Mary is our mother, too.
After the Fall of Adam and Eve, God, in his love and mercy, promised our First Parents and their descendants, the gift of redemption and a mother who would assist us in our battle against satan. “I will put enmity between you, (satan) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…” She is the one through whom God will send the Redeemer and the one who will lead us to our Savior. Because of sin, we often become like Adam and Eve, hiding from God. God knows that we need a loving mother who will draw us back to the Father and assist us in resisting the wiles of the evil one. “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to Me, and do not prevent them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:14). How do we, as little children, come to the Father? Our Blessed Mother carries us to Him. For this reason, Jesus declared from the Cross, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ And to her children, ‘Behold your mother.’ (John 19:26-27) Knowing the love and power of Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, the devil does all in his power to discourage us from honoring her, especially by discouraging us from bringing children to Our Lady. Let us be like John, who, “…took her into his home.” (ibid.)
Jesus was stripped of everything; His body was mutilated by the scourging and while those in opposition watched, he climbed the hill to Calvary and was nailed to the Cross. To some, Jesus seemed alone. Yet, Jesus was never alone: He is always united to His Heavenly Father and is one in heart with his Mother Mary. Even as He was nailed to the Cross, Jesus interceded to the Father for us and prayed, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Mary joined Jesus in this prayer; she does not want anyone to be separated from her Son. After three long hours of suffering, Jesus looked at those who were at the foot of the Cross, and seeing them and us, gave us the gift of His Beloved Mother. Through her intercession, may children come to know the love of their heavenly mother who most willingly offered her Divine Son for our redemption, and in turn may they grow in their love and reverence for their Blessed Mother.
In His last words to his disciples, Jesus commended them to His mother, as their comforter and guide. She is one of His most cherished treasures, a gift beyond measure, and He wishes us to join Him in loving and honoring His Mother. Mary always brings us to Jesus. We see this with John, the beloved disciple who fled after Jesus’ arrest in the garden. But John returns with Mary and follows Jesus to Calvary. John, with Mary was able to faithfully stand at the foot of the Cross. Jesus wishes us, while holding the hand of our Blessed Mother, to pick up our Cross and follow Him in all the events of our life. “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to Me, and do not prevent them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:14). Mary never leads us astray. Let us reach out to those children deprived of the knowledge and devotion to their Blessed Mother and pray for increased devotion to Our Blessed Mother among all her children.
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