“The Spirit of God does all things in peace. Let us have recourse to God with love and confidence, and He will receive us into the arms of His mercy.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)
One of the perks of being Catholic is getting to know and love the saints that became before us. Not that I’m a saint, far from it but, God willing, I hope to be some day. Right now, I fail miserably on a daily basis. Wait… who am I kidding, I fail many times on an hourly basis. Fortunately for us, God’s mercy, forgiveness and love is endless. Also, fortunately for us, God gave us St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to show us the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s childhood didn’t appear to have been a happy one, at least not on the outside. Her early years were filled with sickness and a painful home life. But, as a child she showed immense love for the Blessed Sacrament and preferred prayer over playing. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque grew up at the time when there was great rebellion against the Church. Come to think of it, when isn’t there rebellion against the Church? Anyway, she grew up during the time of the heresy of Jansenism and the rise of Protestantism.
At the age of 24, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque entered the Order of the Visitation Nuns. On December 21, 1674, three years after she entered the convent, she received her first revelation. Jesus wanted her to show his love of humankind. He wanted his human heart to be the symbol of divine love for all. Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque a number of times after that day in December, the last vision was 18 months later.
For the love of Jesus, St. Margaret Mary would make reparations for the sins of the world. She would do this by receiving Holy Communion frequently, especially on the first Friday of the month. She would also spend an hour’s vigil every Thursday, meditating on the agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Many Catholics today continue St. Margaret Mary’s devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Of course at the time of St. Margaret Mary’s visions many people didn’t believe her. People were hostile to her, they thought that she was delusional and a fake. However, one man did believe and support her, a Jesuit by the name of St. Claude de la Colombiere. He was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s confessor.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque died on October 17, 1690. After her death, the Jesuits continued the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It wasn’t recognized by the Church as an official devotion until 75 years after her death. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. In 1929 her feast day (a day we commemorate her life), October 17, was added to the liturgical calendar. In 1969 St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s feast day was moved to October 16, where it remains to present day.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.