Skip to comments.About Devotion To The Sacred Heart:The Story Of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Posted on 10/16/2002 4:40:52 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
A Brief History of the Devotion
Introduction to the Devotion
A Brief History of the Devotion
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion that focuses attention on the physical Heart is the symbol of His redemptive love. Although tradition often situates the beginning of the practice of the devotion to the year 1000, it might be more accurate to place its birth during the time of the great mystics [St. Anselm and St. Bernard] between 1050 and 1150. By the middle ages, because of a strong emphasis on the Passion of our Lord, and because of the efforts of St. Bonaventure and St. Gertrude the Great, the devotion became popularized as a means of worshipping the mystery of Christ, living in the Church.
This devotion was promoted by great Saints, including St. Albert the Great, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis de Sales, as well as the great religious orders, such as the Benedictines, the Dominicans, and the Carthusians. However, it must be recorded that the Saint who is most often associated with this devotion is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque [1647-1690]. After she received the Vision of the Sacred Heart, which popularized the devotion, she was scorned by her mother superior who thought her to be delusional. The Saint took ill. Mother superior told St. Margaret Mary that she would believe the miracle of the vision if the Saint were cured. She was and St. Margaret was able to promote the devotion under the guidance of her spiritual director, St. Claude Colombiere. Several books have been published on her extensive letters, sayings and the revelations given to her by Our Lord.
Her private revelations promoted the establishment of a liturgical feast day and the practice of offering reparation for the outrages committed against the Blessed Sacrament on the First Fridays and the Promises of the Sacred Heart. To read more about the devotion, Catholic Family News publishes a monthly article in serial form.
St. Alphonsus was heavily influenced by St. Margaret Mary in his own devotion to the Sacred Heart.
In modern times it was Pope Pius IX who, in 1856, established the Feast of the Sacred Heart and encouraged the efforts of the Apostleship of Prayer-------a confraternity of faithful Catholics who encourage groups, families, and communities to consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart.. In 1928 Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparation to the Sacred Heart. In 1956 Pope Pius XII published his encyclicalHaurietis aquas on the nature of devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The devotion is usually practiced in preparation for the Feast of the Sacred Heart following the Second Sunday after Pentecost. It is also practiced in conjunction with the monthly
First Friday observance that is traditional in many parishes.
Introduction to the Devotion
The devotion of all devotions is love for Jesus Christ. A devout author laments the sight of so many persons who pay attention to various devotions, but neglect devotion to the Sacred Heart. there are are many preachers and confessors who say great things, but speak little of love for Jesus Christ.
The love of Jesus Christ ought to be the principal devotion of a Catholic. Lack of devotion to the Sacred Heart is the reason for frequent relapses into serious sin, because people pay scant attention, and are not sufficiently encouraged to acquire the love of Jesus, which is the golden cord which unites and binds the soul to God. . . The Father will love us in the same proportion as we love Jesus Christ. . . We will never be formed in the image of the Lord, nor even desire to be formed in His image, if we do not meditate upon the love which Jesus Christ has shown us.
For this purpose it is related in the life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Visitation Order, that our Savior revealed to this servant His wish that the devotion and the Feast of His Sacred Heart should be established and propagated in the Church. In this way, devout believers would, by their adoration and prayer, make reparation for the injuries His Heart constantly receives from ungrateful humanity when He is exposed in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. It is also related that while this devout nun was praying before the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus Christ showed her His Heart surrounded by thorns, with a cross on the top, and in a throne of flames.
"Behold the Heart," she reports that Jesus spoke to her, "that has loved humanity, and has spared nothing for them, even to consuming itself to give them pledges of Its love, but which receives from the majority of people, no other return but ingratitude, and insults toward the Sacrament of Love."
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is nothing more than an exercise of love toward our loving Savior. Therefore, the principal object of this devotion, the spiritual object of this devotion, is the love with which the Heart of Jesus is inflamed toward all. Let us now attempt to satisfy the devotion of those who are enamored of Jesus Christ, and who desire to honor him in the Most Holy Sacrament, by a novena of holy meditations and affections to His Sacred Heart.
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About Saint Margaret Mary From Another Source:
SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE
THE LETTERS OF ST. MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE
Margaret Alacoque, the fifth of seven children of Claude
To Mother Marie-Francoise de Saumaise, at Dijon
Most Honored And Dear Mother,
It was not without mortification nor from lack of friendship that
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Margaret Mary was chosen by Christ to arouse the Church to a realization of the love of God symbolized by the heart of Jesus.
Her early years were marked by sickness and a painful home situation. "The heaviest of my crosses was that I could do nothing to lighten the cross my mother was suffering." After considering marriage for some time, Margaret entered the Order of Visitation nuns at the age of 24.
A Visitation nun was "not to be extraordinary except by being ordinary," but the young nun was not to enjoy this anonymity. A fellow novice (shrewdest of critics) termed Margaret humble, simple and frank, but above all kind and patient under sharp criticism and correction. She could not meditate in the formal way expected, though she tried her best to give up her "prayer of simplicity." Slow, quiet and clumsy, she was assigned to help an infirmarian who was a bundle of energy.
On December 21, 1674, three years a nun, she received the first of her revelations. She felt "invested" with the presence of God, though always afraid of deceiving herself in such matters. The request of Christ was that his love for humankind be made evident through her. During the next 13 months he appeared to her at intervals. His human heart was to be the symbol of his divine-human love. By her own love she was to make up for the coldness and ingratitude of the worldby frequent and loving Holy Communion, especially on the first Friday of each month, and by an hour's vigil of prayer every Thursday night in memory of his agony and isolation in Gethsemane. He also asked that a feast of reparation be instituted.
Like all saints, Margaret had to pay for her gift of holiness. Some of her own sisters were hostile. Theologians who were called in declared her visions delusions and suggested that she eat more heartily. Later, parents of children she taught called her an impostor, an unorthodox innovator. A new confessor, Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, a Jesuit, recognized her genuineness and supported her. Against her great resistance, Christ called her to be a sacrificial victim for the shortcomings of her own sisters, and to make this known.
After serving as novice mistress and assistant superior, she died at the age of 43 while being anointed. "I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus."
Our scientific-materialistic age cannot "prove" private revelations. Theologians, if pressed, admit that we do not have to believe in them. But it is impossible to deny the message Margaret Mary heralded: that God loves us with a passionate love. Her insistence on reparation and prayer and the reminder of final judgment should be sufficient to ward off superstition and superficiality in devotion to the Sacred Heart while preserving its deep Christian meaning.
Christ speaks to St. Margaret Mary: "Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this sacrament of love.... I come into the heart I have given you in order that through your fervor you may atone for the offenses which I have received from lukewarm and slothful hearts that dishonor me in the Blessed Sacrament" (Third apparition).
This is a kind of Sacred Heart prayer (at least it's based on the ejaculation, Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine).
My Sweet Jesus,
gentle and humble of heart,
You lovingly see beyond the surface
of how we dress,
how wealthy we are,
how well thought of by our friends,
and see us as we truly are,
an imperfect child of God,
yet something that you cherish
and long to make whole.
Teach me, Lord,
to have a heart like yours,
centered on Heaven,
Let me be an able vessel of your mercy,
a lantern for your light,
an instrument of your peace.
In my love of you, Lord,
keep me safe from self-righteousness,
looking down at others
who may not feel as I do,
worship as I do,
pray as I do.
Yet let me always remember
that they are your children too,
and every bit as worth as I,
if not more,
of your love and concern
and treat them accordingly.
In my love of you, Lord,
help me to keep from causing anger,
in my desire to honor you
by saying words harshly,
or by making a bad example,
or arguing a point
past the point of reason.
Be thou my center,
let all my actions reflect your loving ways
and not my needs to be right,
or more witty
than my fellow man.
Lord, teach me to be gentle,
to avoid anger,
to love with a free and open heart
for your glory,
to do your work,
this day and always, Amen.
Susan E. Stone, 2004
Here is something we have all forgotten to sing, due to the demonic efforts of liturgists and publishers to destroy the Catholic heritage of Sacred Music. It is a German hymn: "Dem Herzen Jesu Singe" with ext by Aloys Shlor, and set to a German hymn tune of the same name:
1. To Jesus heart, all burning With fervent love for men,
My heart with fondest yearning Shall raise the joyful strain:
(Refrain) while ages course along, blest be with loudest song: the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by ev'ry heart and tongue!
2. O heart for me on fire With love no man can speak, my yet untold desire God gives me for Thy sake.
3. Too true, I have forsaken thy love fo willful sin;
Yet now let me be taken Back to thy grace again.
4. As thou art meek and lowly, And ever pure of heart,
So may my heart be wholly Of Thine the counterpart.
The tune is very elegant and beatiful. The words are beautiful - not because of mere poetic form, because they are a love song, simply expressed. And the words speak of simple, childlike devotion.
Of course, they pale before the glories of Marty Haugen, Dan Schutte, GIA, OCP, and other variants of TeletubbieMusik we are forced to listen to today.
But those very sad wannabe musicians could never write these words. Firstly becuase to do so requires faith. Secondly, becuase these words are those of humble access to divine mercy and gratitude.
Not mindless ego renewal
All love to Thee, Most Sacred Heart!
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