At Christmas time we focus on the birth of Christ, even as we look ahead to His Passion, crucifixion, and Resurrection. On the Sunday after Christmas we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and we are invited into the Holy Family by becoming, as it were, adoptive brothers and sisters of Jesus and, therefore, adoptive children of God the Father. Remember, though, what Jesus said to St. John and the Blessed Mother as He hung upon the Cross, “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.” On the surface, it seems that Jesus is asking St. John to look after His mother after He dies, but there is a deeper, spiritual meaning here. We are all the “disciple whom he loved,” and so Jesus, on the Cross, gives all of His to His mother and gives His mother to all of us, that she might be our mother, too. Therefore, we call Mary both the Mother of God and the Mother of all the Faithful.
On December 10, 1925, Sr. Lucia, who had received the visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, received another vision of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. They asked her to spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through what we now call the Five First Saturdays Devotion. The Blessed Virgin said, “See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ingrates pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of souls.”
The purpose of the five Saturdays is to make reparation for the five kinds of offenses against the Blessed Virgin Mary: 1) blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception, 2) blasphemies against her virginity, 3) blasphemies against her divine maternity and refusing to accept her as the Mother of all men, 4) instilling indifference, scorn, and even hatred towards the Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children, and 5) direct insults against her holy images. Just as God chose to have His Son, our Lord, come into the world through the Blessed Virgin Mary and through her assenting to His plan for salvation, so the Lord God desires to bring souls to Himself through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I believe that it is only through her that fallen away Catholics, protestants, and Muslims will come to a catholic faith in her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Five First Saturdays Devotion is a way that each one of us can help bring down God’s mercy and grace on the world.
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.