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A Spiritual Stairway to Heaven: Embracing First Saturday Devotion

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Painting from Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal.

Written By Gene Zannetti

A Heavenly Blueprint

In a beautiful ray of hope, Our Lady of Fatima bestowed upon her faithful disciples a sacred gift—a heavenly blueprint for spiritual ascent. These divine directives, akin to marching orders, chart a course towards the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. At the heart of this celestial roadmap lies the First Saturday Devotion—a sacred covenant of reparation and devotion, beckoning souls to ascend the spiritual stairway to heaven.

This devotion invites its faithful adherents to ascend towards celestial heights, guided by the gentle hand of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In his divine dream, Jacob beheld angels ascending and descending upon the ladder. As Jesus is the fulfillment of Jacob’s ladder, Our Lord said that we will see angels ascending and descending on him. Many saints have said that what God is by nature, Mary is by grace. So too does Mary offer herself as the mediatrix—a bridge between heaven and earth. As the Mediatrix of all graces, Mary stands as the divine conduit of celestial blessings, ushering souls towards heaven. Through her intercession, souls ascend towards the divine, finding solace and sanctity in her maternal embrace.

Embracing the First Saturday Devotion

On Dec. 10, 1925, Sister Lucia beheld a celestial revelation—Our Lady, in her divine splendor, with the Child Jesus, beseeched the faithful to embrace the First Saturday Devotion. This celestial charge stands as a testament to Our Lord and Our Lady’s divine plan for peace and salvation. Our marching orders were delivered, and it became time for us to fulfill our duty.

In 1946, Sister Lucia was asked exactly what the faithful must do, and the bishop of the region surrounding Fatima immediately said to promulgate this coming from him.

Our Lady’s charge to her devoted followers was made clear:

Pray the rosary daily, wear the brown scapular as a sign of your consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offer up your sufferings and daily duties, and complete the First Saturday Devotion.

This is the Blue Army Pledge. Each of these devotions serves as a necessary practice for the attainment of the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

Understanding the First Saturday Devotion

The Five First Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:

  1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
  2. Blasphemies against her Perpetual Virginity
  3. Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
  4. Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
  5. Direct insults against Her sacred images

Our Lady of Fatima outlined four cardinal conditions to fulfill the First Saturday Devotion, rooted in reparation and devotion: Penance, Eucharist, The Rosary, and Meditation.

Penance—a sacramental embrace of reconciliation, cleansing the soul and paving the way for spiritual renewal. Through the sacrament of confession, hearts are purified, and souls are fortified for the celestial journey ahead. You may receive the sacrament within eight days provided that you were in in the state of grace when you receive communion.

Eucharist—the divine banquet of Holy Communion—beckons faithful souls to partake of the body and blood of Christ. In communion with the divine, hearts are nourished, and spirits are uplifted in celestial union. This obligation may be transferred to a Sunday for just cause. 

The Rosary—a sacred rosary of intercession and meditation—guides souls towards the heart of Mary, finding solace in her maternal embrace. Through the recitation of the Mysteries, souls are drawn closer to the divine, finding solace and sanctity in the celestial mysteries.

Meditation—a sacred communion of hearts—invites faithful souls to keep vigil with the Blessed Mother, pondering one or more of the the mysteries of the rosary. Through contemplative communion, souls ascend towards the divine, finding solace and sanctity in the celestial mysteries.

“Fatima Week”

As we embark on this sacred journey of reparation and devotion, let us be aware of the challenges that we will be faced with. The evil one will not sit back and let us do this comfortably. It may be difficult for us to take action and put in the time and effort to make the First Saturdays. But we must make it happen at least once in our lives, and ideally, continue to do so every month.

In my life and my family and my apostolate, we call the week leading up to the first Saturday “Fatima week.” We plan out in advance when we will go to mass and confession. We build our schedule around it. And we dedicate a majority of our efforts to spreading the Fatima message. This would be a great habit to get into.

Once a month for one week, let us do our best to remind everyone of the Fatima message and the importance of all four points of the Blue Army Pledge, beginning with the First Saturday Devotion this week coming up.

An Eternal Promise of Heavenly Glory

To encourage participation in the First Saturday Devotion, Our Lady extended a pledge of assistance at the hour of death. Those who faithfully observe the the first Saturday of the month for five consecutive months receive the assurance of divine grace and salvation—an eternal promise of heavenly glory.

Our job is to fulfill the first five Saturday devotion as perfectly as possible, and to enlist as many other people as we possibly can to join us on the first Saturday devotion to contribute to the acceleration of the triumph of Mary. 

Gene Zannetti is the owner of Winning Mindset, a sport-performance mental training program. He is also a Catholic speaker, writer and podcaster (Spiritual Strength).

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