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Love Has a Sacred Heart

Happy Month of the Sacred Heart everyone!! Ok, so if you’re not Catholic, this greeting might be confusing…so let’s explain. A long standing devotion in the Catholic Church has been one to the Sacred Heart. While it certainly has a long history, which I was going to cover in depth, but that will have be saved for another time; in this post, I will be exploring the private revelations of which made it “mainstream”. As with a lot of private revelation, the visions which explained this devotion began in a convent. But first, let’s give a little background on the mystic who received them St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (my Mom is named after her). Ok as with my bio of St. Faustina in my Divine Mercy Post, this biography will Frankenstein of a bio from different online biographies.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in L'Hautecour, Burgundy France on July 22, 1647. Her parents Claude and Philbrete Alacoque had seven children, of which Margaret was the fifth. Claude Alacoque was a prosperous notary. Tragedy struck the St. Margaret Mary's family, when she was eight, with the death of Claude from pneumonia. Despite the prosperity which was due to St. Margaret Mary, her mother, and the rest of her family were denied it, for many years, by other relatives. Even so, St. Margaret Mary still received great blessings in her life; the first was that she received First Communion at age 9, when at the time it was common for this sacrament to be received. later. Additionally, that year, St. Margaret Mary contracted rheumatic fever and was bedridden for four years; during this illness, St. Margaret Mary prayed to the Blessed Virgin for healing, and promised if she was cured, she would join religious life. St. Margaret Mary was cured, and a few years later, her family regained what was rightfully theirs; however, once this happened, her mother, Philbrete began to encourage St. Margaret Mary to pursue the vocation of marriage. While this went on for sometime, the Lord reached out to St. Margaret Mary in a radical way.

Once after a dance (similar to how St. Faustina saw the Lord during a dance), the Lord revealed himself being scourged because St. Margaret Mary was failing to fulfill her promise to his Mother. She then entered the Visitation Convent on May 25th, 1671 (my parents first wedding anniversary, and my eldest sister's birth, was 320 years and a day later); ultimately, she was permitted to begin wearing the religious habit on August 25th, 1671.

Her most famous visions began on December 27, 1673. These revealed Jesus' desired for his Sacred Heart to be worshipped. The visions began with Margaret Mary (Mary was a name taken once Margaret took vows) being placed in the position of John the Evangelist at the Last Supper. Jesus, then showed St. Margaret Mary his Heart which was on fire (His love for humanity) , surrounded by a crown of thorns (humanity's sinlessness and ingratitude). He gave St. Margaret Mary the mission to spread the Devotion to the Sacred Heart, and revealed to her twelve promises which would be graces received by those of practiced this devotion. She revealed the presence of these visions to her Superior, Mother de Saumaise, who at first did not believe her, refusing to allow her to practice the devotions stipulated by the visions of Jesus. The distress this caused St. Margaret Mary culminated her falling ill; her eventually recovery from her illness convinced Mother de Saumaise, that St. Margaret Mary's visions were authentic. Yet, the theologians, of which one was a Jesuit and another a Benedtctine, Mother de Saumarine invited to evaluate St. Margaret Mary, failed to be persuaded that St. Margaret Mary's visions were authentic, concluding St. Margaret Mary's visions were in fact, delusions; this disbelief, also, extended to others in the convent. Things began to change, when Jesuit priest, St.Claude de la Colombiere (I do not perceive this as a coincidence that this priest, shares a name with her natural father, she lost as a young girl), became a confessor at the convent. He came to the conclusion that her visions were indeed authentic, eventually taking the devotion to England, where he was a missionary for most of his life. St. Claude de la Colombiere would return to the convent for the last year of his life. St. Margaret Mary's luck further changed, a year after, St. Claude de la Colombiere died. A new Superior, Mother Melin, chose St. Margaret Mary as her assistant; later, St. Margaret Mary became the Novice Mistress, where among here novices, a devotion to the Sacred Heart was fostered, and at this time, she led the whole covent to practice this devotion privately (the Feast of the Sacred Heart was first observed in 1685). This change was largely brought about by the writings of St. Claude de La Colombiere, which were read aloud in the convent's refectory. After 7 years of being Novice Mistress, St. Margaret Mary died on October 17,1690. However, it would take another 75 years for the Devotion for the Sacred Heart to recognized completely by the Church. On the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, in 1920 Benedict XV canonized St. Margaret Mary.

Now let's get into the nitty gritty of this devotion. Some aspects of it include the Nine first Fridays and the feast of the Sacred Heart. Overall there are six aspects of the Sacred Heart Devotion to be aware of : The Holy Hour of Reparation, The Nine First Fridays, The Feast of the Sacred Heart, Exposition of the Image of the Sacred Heart, Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home, and Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

One of the most widely practiced aspects of this Devotion is the Nine First Fridays. This particular practice of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart (which all come from the vision of St. Margaret Mary). Jesus asks people to honor His Sacred Heart by receiving Holy Communion (worthily) on nine consecutive first Fridays; the Holy Communion must be offered in honor of and as a reparation to the Sacred Heart for sins against it. A great time to start to. begin this would be June 204. This is made incredibly easy the First Friday of June 2024 is also The Feast of the Sacred Heart.

In 2024, The Feast of the Sacred Heart falls on June 7. This is not accident as the Sunday before is The Feast of Corpus Christi. Christ asked St. Margaret Mary in a vision: It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament be appropriated to a special feast, to honor My Heart by communicating on that day, and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered." This emphasizes the truth that God is love. If God is love, why would one not wish to honor and worship the Heart of Love incarnate, Jesus Christ?

Another aspect of this devotion is the Holy Hour of Reparation. St. Margaret Mary was told to make a Holy Hour of Reparation on Thursdays from eleven to midnight as a way. to be with Jesus in the Garden of Olives (Gethsemane). However, most would not be able to make an holy hour at this time of the night. So, the Church has given the laity the chance to do this between 2pm-6pm on Thursday. This would be a good time to make an act of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is one of the prayers which can be said in honor of the Sacred Heart.

The last two pieces of this devotion is the exposition of the image of and the enthronement of the Sacred Heart. The exposition of the image of the Sacred heart is straightforward. This means getting an image of the Sacred Heart and placing it where you can see it. The enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a process of making the Sacred Heart the heart of the home and its standard. This is emphasized by St. John Paul the Great (John Paul II), who said:"Always keep your eyes on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, King and Center of all hearts. From him you will learn the great lesson of love, goodness, of sacrifice, of piety, so necessary for every Christian family. From him you will obtain strength, serenity, authentic and profound happiness for your married life! You will draw down his blessing, if the image of his Heart — besides being impressed on your mind — is always exposed and honored on the wall of your home!" This shows that the graces of the Sacred Heart create harmony and joy (while he says "happiness", I think "joy" is a better term to use here) in family.

I hope this post has given all whether Catholic or not to gain an understanding the devotion to the Sacred Heart and the beauty of what the Catholic Church celebrates this month. Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pray for Us.


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