First Friday is a devotion to the beloved Sacred Heart of Jesus. First Saturday, similarly, is a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is wholly within reason that these two devotions deelply connected—for where one heart is beating, so, too, is the other.
Our Lord Jesus Sacred Heart takes its form from Mary’s body, a body that is fueled by her own heart. Yet, her own heart is Immaculate precisely because of Christ’s own Sacred Heart, which simply conveys the graces of His Sacrifice to His own mother at her own conception to ensure His own conception. It is an amazing circularity of love between two hearts, a love between Mother and Son that is so readily able to extend beyond the confines of time. It is this love between the Sacred Heart on First Fridays and the Immaculate Heart on First Saturdays that we seek to consecrate ourselves to through these two devotions.
In 1917, when Our Lady appeared at Fatima, she began a series of visits to three children. One of these children, Lucy, was visited by the Blessed Mother for the remainder of her life. During these visits, the Virgin Mary showed Lucy and the other children glimpses of Hell and revealed to them a number of secrets and prophecies. One of the revelations made to Lucy in 1925 was the foundation from which First Saturdays arose.
The vision that occurred was a joint visit from Mary and the Infant Child Jesus. Mary conveyed to Lucy that her heart was wounded, showing Lucy a representation of her Immaculate heart, surrounded by thorns. This heart was victim to “ungrateful men” who “wound [her heart] at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude.” Because of these wounds, the Blessed Mother asked Lucy to perform a certain sort of penance to console her compassion-thirsty heart. That penance, it turns out, is the backbone of what First Saturdays is about.
“Say to all who, for five months, on the first Saturdays, confess, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary, and keep Me company during fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of souls.”
Thus, the First Saturday devotion requires:
a.) Confession (which later visions revealed could occur within 8 days before or after the first Saturday);
b.) Reception of Holy Communion;
c.) Recitation of the Rosary;
d.) 15 minutes of meditation (separate from the saying of the Rosary) on any one or more of the mysteries of the Rosary;
e.) a-d being done with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
f.) The discipline must be kept for five first Saturdays in-a-row.
In 1930 it was revealed to Lucy, after she had entered the convent that the number of Saturdays necessary to complete the devotion correlates to the five blasphemies that Mary’s Immaculate Heart suffers from:
1.) Blasphemy against her Immaculate Conception;
2.) Blasphemy against her perpetual virginity;
3.) Blasphemy against her divine maternity of God and mankind;
4.) Distortion of her image;
5.) Neglect of implanting knowledge, love and devotion into the hearts of children.
Additionally, over time the promises associated with the practice have expanded to include not only the personal salvation of one’s own soul, but to grant salvation to all sinners (especially the blasphemers) and for peace in the world. Thus, this practice and devotion is of the utmost importance for young and Faithful Catholics to take up. In a world mired in turmoil, the Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart will purify us by showing us a great, maternal love—a love that ultimately seeks to unite us to the Sacred Heart of her Son, Jesus Christ.