A common complaint about nurses is that we are task-oriented. We have a list of duties we must accomplish each day and sometimes, in our focus on getting things done, we overlook one very important factor - the reason we complete these tasks is for the welfare of the patient, not so we can check off a to-do list.
As Catholics, I think we can become task-oriented as well. You should hear the turmoil that goes on inside my head every morning. How I ever took a job with such early hours is beyond me. Waking up and getting out of bed has always been a very difficult feat. The alarm goes off, and I start mapping things out in my mind of whether I need to get up or whether I can afford more sleep. Then the realization sets in that if I don't get up, I won't have time to pray before Mass. There are certain prayers I want to pray every day. This doesn't mean I don't pray other prayers, but there is a reason these devotions carry with them the graces that they do. So I try to pray them every day. And then I get to church, and I can't find a parking spot, and I get inside later than I planned, and now I won't have time for this devotion or that devotion before Mass begins.
And throughout all of this frenzy, Christ patiently listens and sorts it all out for me. I believe in the end, He knows that though my attention span is not the best, and I can so easily get distracted, what drives me is not necessarily what I am going to get out of all of this effort but that I do what I do to please Him and work for the souls entrusted to me.
"Remember this: the person who brings a sinner back from his way will save his soul from death and cancel a multitude of sins"
What am I trying to say that is not clear from my rambling? That when it comes to devotions like the Five First Saturdays, we should not strive to set aside making these devotions as though they are some kind of coupon to win us points in eternity. It becomes much easier to keep these devotions when we forget about what they promise to do for us and instead focus on how much they please Our Lord and His Holy Mother. We can be sure we will gain much more than we deserve.
If we know that First Fridays and First Saturdays are so pleasing to Jesus and Mary that they condescended to ask weak human beings to spread their message, we will not be content to stop after a certain number but rather, will work to make these devotions part of our lives forever, so long as we are physically able.
For those who are not aware, Our Lady asked Sister Lucia, the Fatima visionary, to spread devotion to her Immaculate Heart through the First Five Saturdays commitment. Mary does not ask much. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that since she asks the bare minimum, all Catholics should make a point of offering this devotion to her.
1. Go to Mass on 5 consecutive First Saturdays and receive Holy Communion
2. Go to confession, no longer than a week before or a week after the First Saturday Mass
3. Pray a full Mystery of the Rosary (e.g. 5 decades of the Sorrowful Mysteries)
4. Keep Mary company for a quarter of an hour ( who doesn't have 15 minutes for their mother?) by meditating on one mystery or several mysteries of the Rosary.
5. Do all of this in reparation to her Immaculate Heart
I know that anyone who is properly disposed to worthily offer this devotion to Mary will not be able to stop after 5 Saturdays but rather, will want to make this a life time commitment. In return for this small sacrifice ( I don't know how anyone can call receiving the Sacraments a sacrifice, but ok) The Blessed Virgin promises to "assist us at the hour of our death with the graces necessary for salvation".
Did you know that if you are properly disposed, you can gain an indulgence by praying the Rosary in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament? Think of all the souls in Purgatory who can benefit if you win this indulgence and offer it for their release.
St. Therese referred to herself as a mother of souls. She viewed her work of prayer as a way of earning a livelihood for her children. We would do well to rise each day with the desire to imitate her.