Just as Sundays are days when we always remember the Resurrection of Christ, Fridays have long been a day to remember His sacrifice on the cross.
First Friday Devotions began in the 1600’s when Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and spoke to her of His great love for us. (Refer back to the June packet to learn more about Saint Margaret Mary.) It was through these visions that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began. At this time, it was rare for people to receive Holy Communion very often (sometimes only once a year), but before long, the first Friday of each month became a popular time to receive.
It is the First Friday custom to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month for nine months in a row (like a “novena” of Fridays). These Masses are a time to specially offer your devotion and love for Jesus in reparation for (in the place of) all those who ignore Him and those who choose not to love Him.
Most people know that the Fridays in Lent are a special time for some extra penance or sacrifice, but did you know that this is something you should do EVERY Friday? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1438, teaches that “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).”
These sacrifices can be meat or some other food, but they don’t have to be. Television, video games, or anything else you really like can be given up for the day to make a little more room in your life to focus on Jesus!