What is the Meaning of the Message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Today?

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On June 11, the Church commemorated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What is the history of the apparitions? How was the Feast instituted? What does the message say? 

Newsdesk (12/06/2021 11:25, Gaudium Press) “I will reign despite My enemies”. These were the words that the Sacred Heart of Jesus addressed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque on July 20, 1685.

In the eyes of this faithless world of ours, Our Lord’s message seems outdated. In this world of democracies, who would dare to speak of kingdoms? In this society, continuously preaching peace, who would denounce divisions, speaking of “enemies”?

The apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque contain a message for our times. Far from being outdated, it is ever more current.
But who was Margaret Mary Alacoque? What were the apparitions like? How was the Feast of the Sacred Heart instituted? What would the Sacred Heart of Jesus tell us today?

Who was Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque?

Margaret was born in Burgundy, France, on July 22, 1647. While just a child she was stricken with a serious illness, which left her unable to walk for four years. A terrible ordeal for a child, but when well accepted, suffering draws us closer to God. As the medicine of the time proved incapable of curing the little girl, she made a promise: if she regained her health, she would become a nun.

Her prayer was answered almost immediately, but her family opposed her entering the convent. According to her mother, a child’s vow had no value. The incomprehension of the relatives – this kind of dispute between God and men – lasted several years, during which Margaret firmly persisted in her intention. Finally, in the year 1671, she was able to enter the Monastery of the Visitation in Paray-le-Monial, founded by Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jeanne de Chantal.

For Margaret Mary Alacoque there were no barriers between the visible and the supernatural world; she conversed as easily and naturally with Heaven as we do with our friends. Mystical graces had filled her life since childhood. When she was four years old, she felt such strong movements of grace that, without really understanding the meaning of the words, she would say over and over again, “O my God, I consecrate my purity to you and vow myself to perpetual chastity.” She did not even know what ‘perpetual chastity’ was. Nevertheless, faithful to the voices within, she gave her virginity to Our Lord¹.

Her mission, however, was to propagate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On December 27, 1673, Margaret received the first revelation while praying before the Blessed Sacrament. From then on, the manifestations of Jesus became frequent.

Another virtuous soul, Saint Claude de la Colombière, was of great assistance to the nun, for, besides believing in her revelations and comforting her in her trials, he was one of those responsible for spreading this devotion.

Often misunderstood by the religious authorities; considered a visionary and mad by her sisters in the habit; the seer of the Sacred Heart was even advised to forget the apparitions. With the revelations came a period of struggle for St. Margaret.

The life of St. Margaret was entirely dedicated to the cult of the Sacred Heart. She was able to contemplate while she was still alive the first glimmerings of the fruit of her devotion. However, some of the requests made by the Sacred Heart to His chosen one, although she transmitted them to the people who were supposed to hear them, were never granted. She died on October 17, 1690.

What Were the Apparitions of the Sacred Heart Like?

Saint Margaret had four principal apparitions, which occurred between 1673 and 1674, in which Our Lord manifested His desire that devotion to His Sacred Heart should be propagated.

The first apparition was on the feast of St. John the Evangelist, in the year 1673. Praying before the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus said to the seer, “My Heart is so much in love with men, and with you in particular, that It can no longer contain within Itself the flames of Its burning love, which You must spread and reveal to them so that they may be enriched with Its precious treasures”. (Alacoque, Op. cit., p. 78)

The effect of these words was very strong. St. Margaret herself relates that, seized by the mystical experience, she spent several days without being able to sleep and with no desire to eat.

There followed two other apparitions – St. Margaret did not specify the date – in which Our Lord, besides asking her to multiply the number of her communions, revealed to her that what caused the Sacred Heart the most pain was the coldness, the indifference, and the rejection of men towards Him, especially on the part of the clergy and of consecrated souls.²

How was the Feast of the Sacred Heart Born?

The principal apparition occurred in the Octave of the feast of Corpus Christi, in the year 1674. Once again Saint Margaret was praying in the chapel of the Convent when the Sacred Heart said to her, “Here is the Heart that has loved men so much and has been so rejected by them”. (Alacoque, Op. cit., p. 93)

Our Lord then asked his chosen one that a feast be instituted in honour of His Sacred Heart, to be celebrated on the first Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi: “I promise that My Heart will be enlarged to shed with abundance the influences of My Divine Love upon those who render It this praise”. (Alacoque, Op. cit., p. 93)

The feast was only included in the Church’s liturgical calendar by Pius IX in 1856 and is currently celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. This year, 2021, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on June 11.

A Message for our Times

The Sacred Heart of Jesus appeared almost 350 years ago. Since then the world has changed and men have changed. Does the message not also need to change? A quick analysis will make this proposal clear.

In this materialistic society, it sounds almost childish to recall the existence of the supernatural, of the Angels and God himself. How can we speak of apparitions, visions, and communications from Heaven?

The Sacred Heart of Jesus spoke of love; how corrupt is the word love! What will the man of the 21st century, who lives only in sensual and carnal pleasures, understand by ‘love’?

Our Lord asks to reign in hearts, but is there room inside contemporary hearts for Jesus? The thrones of human hearts are already occupied by the gods of our time. Where will the Sacred Heart reign?

The message still speaks of rejection, indifference, of “enemies”. In this society so accustomed to mixing good and evil, truth and error, the beautiful and the ugly, is anyone willing to listen to words of warning, invitations to conversion, requests for reparation?

The message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus seems doomed to oblivion. Either the message itself must change or people will refuse it. We would be facing an irrefutable truth if God were not God.

It pleases the Divine Majesty to act through second causes, almost always discreetly, silently. God does not need armies and empires to impose His will. The devil can influence insoluble situations, gather nations and entire peoples under his banner. Man can declare independence from God and rebel against the Creator. All these are nothing but walls of smoke and castles of cards. Our Lord calls a person – as he called St. Margaret Mary Alacoque – and makes the world His Kingdom.

What is needed, then? That some souls allow themselves to be soaked by the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who is “in love” with us, to hear His call of goodness and allow themselves to be carried away by His infinite mercy. His goodness will overcome our wickedness and mercy will triumph over impiety.

Thus it is enough that a few souls – even if it is only one – allow themselves to be taken up by love for God, to become reparatory souls, desirous of expanding the reign of the Sacred Heart over hearts, and God will be able to reverse the whole situation. The message of the Sacred Heart will remain, and the world will change.

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

1. O my Jesus, Who said, “Truly I say to you, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you,”. Behold, I knock, I seek and I ask for the grace…
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust and hope in You!

2. O my Jesus, Who said, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give it to you”, behold, I ask the Father, in Your Name, for the grace …
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust and hope in You!

3. O my Jesus, Who said, “Truly, I say to you, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away”, I ask the grace, supported by the infallibility of Your holy words…
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust and hope in You!

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Whom one thing is impossible; that is, not to have compassion on the unfortunate, have pity on us, miserable sinners, and grant us the graces we ask through the Immaculate Heart of Your tender Mother.

The 12 promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

1st – “My blessing will remain on the houses where the image of My Sacred Heart is exposed and venerated”;
2nd – “I will give the devotees of My Heart all the graces necessary for their state”;
3rd – “I will establish and preserve peace in their families”;
4th – “I will console them in all their afflictions”;
5th – “I will be a safe refuge in life and especially in the hour of death”;
6th – “I will cast abundant blessings on their works and undertakings”;
7th – “Sinners will find in My Heart an inexhaustible source of mercies”;
8th – “Timid souls will become fervent through the practice of this devotion”;
9th – “The fervent souls will rise in a short time to a high perfection”;
10th – “I will give especially to priests who practice this devotion the power to touch the most hardened hearts”;
11th – “Those who propagate this devotion will have their names inscribed forever in My Heart”;
12th – “To all those who take communion, on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months, I will give the grace of final perseverance and eternal salvation”.

Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

(A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite this act of reparation piously, and a plenary indulgence if the act is recited publicly on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

Most Sweet Jesus, whose infinite charity towards men is so ungratefully responded to by them with forgetfulness, coldness, and contempt, we prostrate here before You to pay You special homage in reparation for the incomprehensible insensitivity and disgraceful insults with which Your most loving Heart has been showered with from every quarter.

But recognizing with the deepest sorrow that we too have more than once committed the same indignities, we implore Thy mercy in the first place for us, ready to atone not only for our own faults but also for those who, wandering far from the way of salvation, or who are obstinate in their infidelity, not desiring Thee as their shepherd and guide, or who, betraying the promises of baptism, have shaken off the most tender yoke of Thy holy law.

For all these deplorable crimes, O Lord, we wish today to make reparation to Thee, especially for the licentiousness of manners and immodesty of dress, for the many corrupt practices that have been practiced against innocence, for the violation of Holy Days, the execrable blasphemies against Thee and Thy Saints, the insults to Thy Vicar and all Thy clergy, the contempt and the horrid and sacrilegious profanations of the Sacrament of divine love, and, finally, the attacks and rebellions of the nations against the rights and the Magisterium of Thy Church.

Oh, That we Could Wash Away With our own Blood so Many Iniquities!

Nevertheless, to make reparation for the Divine Honour that has been outraged, we offer Thee, together with the merits of the Virgin Mother, of all the Saints and pious souls, that infinite satisfaction which Thou hast offered to the Eternal Father on the cross, and which Thou dost not cease to renew every day upon our altars.

Help us, O Lord, with the help of Thy grace, that we may, as is our firm resolution, by living the Faith, by purity of habit, by faithful observance of the evangelical law and charity, make reparation for all the sins committed by us and by our neighbour; prevent by every means new insults of Thy Divine Majesty, and draw to Thy service as many souls as possible.

Receive, O most gracious Jesus, by the hands of Mary most holy, the spontaneous homage of this our reparation, and grant us the great grace to persevere constantly, even unto death, in the faithful discharge of our duties and Thy holy service, that we may all arrive at the blessed Homeland, where Thou, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.

By Luis Toniolo

1 -êau: Éditions Rassemblement à Son Image, 2016, p. 23.

2 – Cf. ALACOQUE, Marguerite-Marie. Vie et Révélations écrites par elle-même. Onet-le-chatêau: Éditions Rassemblement à Son Image, 2016, p. 93.

Bibliography

ALACOQUE, Marguerite-Marie. Vie et Révélations écrites par elle-même. Onet-le- chatêau: Éditions Rassemblement à Son Image, 2016.

CRISTIANI, Léon. Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque. 2. ed. Paris: Apostolat de la presse, 1959.

DESCOULEURS, Bernard; GAUD, Christiane. Marguerite-Marie Alacoque. Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1996.

TEJADA, José Sáenz de. Vida y obras completas de Santa Marguerite María Alacoque. Quito: Jesus of Mercy Foundation, [s.d].

The Post, What Does the Message of the Sacred Heart Mean Today? appeared first on Gaudium Press. Read More: Spirituality, The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, What were the apparitions of the Sacred Heart?, How was the feast of the Sacred Heart born?, Most Sweet Jesus, FULL INDULGENCE, Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who was Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque?, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Gaudium Press Cf. ALACOQUE, Marguerite-Marie. Vie et Révélations écrites par elle-même. Onet-le-chat.

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