“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.”

At Her apparition of 13th July 1917 at Fatima, the Blessed Virgin said She would later ask for the Communions of Reparation. And in 1925, She appeared again to Lucia – now Sister Lucia – to make the explicit request for this devotion. She said –

“See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to Me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.”

Reparation is a strange word to hear these days. We are very concerned with self; and yet, true reparation extends far beyond ourselves and reaches out to – and for – others. Reparation is a way of making atonement for the faults of others – for their sake, but primarily because our sinfulness offends the good God and reparation goes some way to making amends for that offence.

You may wonder why five First Saturdays, and what particular offences are committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for which that reparation is being asked? In 1930, Sister Lucia was given the answer. There five particular sins which offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary – and which, by extension, offend the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They are –

blasphemies against Her Immaculate Conception

against Her perpetual virginity

against the divine and spiritual maternity of Mary

blasphemies involving the rejection and dishonouring of Her images

and the neglect of implanting in the hearts of children a knowledge and love of the Blessed Virgin.

Never outdone in kindness or generosity, the Blessed Virgin makes a simple and sublime promise for those who respond to Her request for reparation – the assurance that She will do precisely what we ask Her to do in every Hail Mary we pray; to assist in that final and most important moment of all – ‘at the hour of our death’.