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From Thorns to Roses


Mary means ‘enlightener,’ because she brought forth the Light of the world. In the Syriac tongue, Mary signifies Lady.” ~ Saint Isidore of Seville

Of the many great Catholic traditions and observances that our Church invites us to participate in, the 1st Saturday Devotion is perhaps the one that I have personally grown to cherish the most. Saturday Morning Daily Mass has become my favorite Mass to attend, but 1st Saturday, as many of you know, is devoted to the Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I’ve included a link at the bottom of this essay which includes more information and history pertaining to the origins of this devotion and information pertaining to how you too can partake of this special devotion and thus receive all the divine graces associated with doing so.

Today’s 1st Saturday Devotion is even more special to me however, not only because it falls during Lent, but it happens to coincide with the Feast Day of Saint Isidore, the great Bishop and Doctor of our Church, whose quote kicks off today’s reflection. Although lesser known than the “other” Saint Isidore ~ afterall, amongst the Communion of Saints, it’s the miracle workers that tend to garner the most ink ~ Saint Isidore is the Patron Saint of writers, something I pretend to be in my spare time.

But back to 1st Saturday. . .

According to Sister Lúcia of Fátima, this devotion was borne out of a request from the Virgin Mary by way of an apparition at Pontevedra, Spain, in December 1925. As such, it is a relatively new devotion, not even 100 years old. “I shall come to ask... that on the First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world.” These were the words of our Blessed Mother to the young Lucia in July of 1925. Later that year, on December 10th, our Lady appeared to Lucia in Pentevedra, Spain, arriving on this occasion with the Baby Jesus, who urged the precocious Lucia to “have pity on the heart of your most Holy Mother. It is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.”

In March of 1939, Lucia ~ now Sister Lucy after having entered the convent ~ would go on to say "Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven.”

Our Blessed Mother, the sacred and sinless vessel through which the Son of Man would enter the world, would emerge as the Mediatrix of all divine graces, going on to make one more promise to those who observed the First Saturday Devotion. She would tell Sister Lucy “I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation” all those who remain ardent in their to practice this devotion.

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As we prepare to enter into Holy Week, let us all offer up prayers for our Blessed Mother’s sorrowful heart. Many of you will partake of the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. When doing so, reflect upon them through the eyes of Mary Of the many sorrows she encountered in her difficult life, it was on the road to Calvary that our Lady undoubtedly suffered the most. Although Mary is the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of the Kingdom that will never end, she is not an aloof, snobbish ruler like those of the fleeting, soon-to-be-moth-eaten secular world oftentimes appear to be. She craves no attention from the tabloids, nor does she have any interest in landing on magazine covers, creating fashion trends or lighting up Instagram. Instead she is with us, interceding for us, bringing our prayers before the throne of God, suffering with us, imploring us to repent, and return to her Son and her God.

“Love Your Mother.” This was the popular hippie mantra throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, with bumper stickers proclaiming this message on virtually every VW Microbus that rolled off the assembly line. This well meaning albeit misguided rally cry referred of course to the planet upon which we live. Yet we know that the Earth is not our mother. The Earth is instead a creation, in the same way that we are creations. In that respect, nature could more accurately be likened to being our sister, but even that comparison is oblique and diminishes God's love for us, we who are his most prized and precious creation.

Having said this however, I urge you nonetheless to love your Mother Observe the 1st Saturday Devotion, pray the Rosary every day, receive the Eucharist as often as you can. Offer prayers of Spiritual Communion whenever you can’t. In doing so, you can release the thorns that surround her perfect and pure heart, replacing these jagged thorns with the roses that drift majestically to the heavens with each and every Hail Mary offered for our Mother, until her Son returns in glory and her sorrows are no more.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, I will pray for you now, and at the hour of my death.”

We adore you O Christ and we praise you. For by your holy cross you have redeemed theworld.

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