The Marian Dimension of the Death of John Paul II
In speaking last week of the holy death of the Servant of God John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI alluded to First Saturday of the Month, I thought it might be helpful to recall the origin of the First Saturday devotion and the practices associated with it. This particular image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the work of a priest of the Congregation of the Oblates of Saint Joseph, Father Gianfranco Verri. He calls it "La Madonna delle Rose Blu Our Lady of the Blue Roses."
The Blessed Virgin revealed her Immaculate Heart to the three children at Fatima in 1917. On December 10, 1925 she said to Sister Lucia:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at 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 decades of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.
Why Reparation to Mary's Immaculate Heart?
1. Because of attacks against her Immaculate Conception.
2. Because her Perpetual Virginity is derided and denied.
3. Because the mystery of her Divine Motherhood is refused and blasphemed.
4. Because of attempts to implant indifference, contempt, and coldness in the hearts of her children.
5. Because Mary is insulted directly in her sacred images.
The Means Proposed by Our Lady
Our Lady herself proposed the means of consoling her Immaculate Heart: Confession, Holy Communion, five decades of the Rosary, and keeping her company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. She asks that this be done for five consecutive Saturdays. To those who honour her requests she promises her assistance at the hour of death, the salvation of souls, and peace.
Concerning devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Trappist Father Raphael Simon, an illustrious convert from Judaism, wrote: In these times, when sin threatens to engulf the entire world in an irresistible flood, the Father has opened to all the Immaculate Heart of Mary as an ark in which they may find refuge and sanctity.