The Nine First Fridays and Five First Saturdays

June 26, 1994
Brother John Raymond

	God's ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts. A good
 example of human wisdom as compared to God's wisdom can be found in
 the Old Testament. Naaman was an army commander of the Aramaeans, a
 pagan nation. He became ill with leprosy. Through an Israelite girl,
 who had become a servant of his wife, Naaman learned of an Israelite
 prophet who could cure him. So Naaman set out with his chariot and
 servants to find Elisha the prophet. When he arrived at the
 prophet's house Elisha sent a messenger to him saying that if he
 bathed in the Jordan seven times he would be cured. Naaman was
 expecting a little more spectacular cure. Indignant at this
 ridiculous request of the prophet he left murmuring that surely the
 waters of other rivers were just as good or even better than the
 Jordan. Fortunately one of his servants reasoned with him. The
 servant said that if the prophet had asked him to do something
 difficult wouldn't he have done it. So why not follow these simple
 instructions. So Naaman went to the Jordan, bathed seven times and
 was cured. (2 Kings Chapter 5)
	The moral of all this is that God at times requires of us
 specific actions to obtain a specific grace. Since grace is a gift
 we cannot really in justice "earn" it but God does require some
 cooperation on our part. What he requires of us always has a
 meaning, at times it can be symbolic.
	In June 1674, Jesus asked St. Margaret Mary to receive Holy
 Communion on the First Friday of every month. This is now known as
 the devotion of the Nine First Fridays. Our Lord promised the grace
 of final perseverance to whoever receives Holy Communion on nine
 consecutive First Fridays in reparation to His Sacred Heart. (To
 this day I have never found out why or for what reason Our Lord
 chose "nine" Fridays.)
	On December 10, 1925, Our Lady of Fatima, with the Child Jesus
 beside Her, appeared to Sister Lucia in her convent room. Our Lady
 was holding out Her Heart surrounded by sharp thorns. Jesus and Mary
 asked for reparation to be made to the Immaculate Heart. Our Lady
 promised to assist with all the necessary graces for salvation at
 death those who would make the Five First Saturdays. That is, those
 who, for five consecutive first Saturdays of the month, would go to
 Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and spend
 fifteen minutes meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary, all with
 the intention of making reparation to Her. (Later Our Lord said that
 Confession could be on another day as long as one receives Holy
 Communion in the state of grace.)
	The grace of final perseverance or dying in the state of grace is
 not something automatic. We have to pray for continual and final
 perseverance. Fortunately, God has given us two specific means of
 obtaining this grace. I know somebody that after making the Five
 First Saturdays had an intellectual vision of their name being
 written in the "Book of Life." (See Rev. 20, 15) I want every reader
 of this column to do at least one of these two practices beginning
 now! Please get everybody you know to do them, sinner or saint. If
 you have already done them keep on doing them. Our Lord said to one
 modern visionary that He wants everybody to do both practices to end
 the wave of evil sweeping across the world. Jesus said that if these
 two monthly devotions were practiced faithfully by His followers
 this alone would win the battle over evil, so great are their power
 to satisfy Divine Justice and eliminate sin and evil. Let us like
 Naaman listen to the servants (of God) and put these simple
 devotions into practice!