Yesterday morning, Carmen sent out her regular bulletin email bast and included a one-page document on the origins and traditions of the First Saturday Devotion.
The practice of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturday was initiated in Rovigo, Italy, by Mary Inglese, a Servite tertiary in 1889. She started among her friends the pious practice of “Communion in Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”. The practice was endorsed by Bishop Antonio Polin of the Diocese of Adria and was taken up by religious orders throughout Italy and elsewhere. On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. This practice greatly resembled the reported request of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Pontevedra apparitions.
The Pontevedra apparitions are linked to our Lady of Fatima through one of the Portuguese seers of our Lady. Sister Lúcia later reported that on December 10, 1925, the Virgin Mary appeared to her at the convent in Pontevedra, and by her side on a luminous cloud was the Child Jesus. According to Lúcia, Mary requested the institution of the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays in reparation to her Immaculate Heart:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
This tradition is, now, almost 100 years old.
This interesting aspect of this devotion during the Advent season is that the “blasphemies” that our lady refers to are against the Church dogmas of the Perpetual Virginity, the Divine Maternity and the Immaculate Conception. All three of these are especially relevant to our Advent devotions. Not that I am going to get into these teachings this morning but suffice it to say that we believe that Mary conceived, gave birth, lived and died a Virgin; we believe that Mary was, and is, the Mother of God, and that as she was to carry the son of God inside her womb she was without sin and was immaculate.
These are simply church teachings, as a matter of fact two of them were decreed from “the chair of Peter” as an infallible teaching of the church. Again, not something that I will go into this morning. What I will go into is Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of the child Jesus.
It has always struck me as interesting that some of the most beautiful hymns of the season are protestant in origin and are about Mary. One of my favorite of these hymns is “Mary, did you know?” One of the middle verses goes:
Did you know that your baby boy, Has walked where angels trod,
And when you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God?
One of the reasons that I find this interesting is that our protestant brothers typically ignore Mary. After all she only speaks 4 times in the entire New Testament. One argument that I have heard for this protestant downplaying of Mary is that she makes Jesus “too human”. It is through the eyes of Mary that we see the sleeping child. It is through the hands of Mary that we touch the face of a child. It is through the heart of Mary that we feel that pain inflicted on a child.
In this time of Advent we need these elements of Mary so that we may come to know the humanity of our Lord and Savior. It is her humanity, her love, her tenderness that we need so that we can put the miracle of Christmas morning into perspective.
From the first reading we hear;
“O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
This morning we celebrate the second of our First Saturday Devotions. In three weeks we celebrate the coming of our savior on Christmas morning. Take the time between now and then to get to know His mother a little bit better, because it is through her that we come to know him a little bit better.
MT 9:35- 10:1
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”
Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”.
December 4, 2021
December 4, 2021