The Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

I saw this divine Heart as on a throne of flames, more brilliant than the sun and transparent as crystal. It had its adorable wound and was encircled with a crown of thorns, which signified the pricks our sins caused Him.

On the feast day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (Oct. 16), we share the opening of “More Brilliant than the Sun," a series on the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Robert Stackpole, STD, the Director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy 

It was the evening of the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Dec. 27, 1673. A seemingly ordinary French nun, Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque, was praying before the Blessed Sacrament, lingering a bit longer than usual to remain near to her beloved Jesus in the tabernacle. She had learned to find refuge and strength in His Eucharistic Heart even as a child, enduring poverty and crippling illness with patience and faith.

But this time, something was different; it was like the calm before a great storm. She wrote in her recollections:

The first special grace I think I received … was on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. Our Lord made me rest for several hours on His sacred breast ...

After that I saw this divine Heart as on a throne of flames, more brilliant than the sun and transparent as crystal. It had its adorable wound and was encircled with a crown of thorns, which signified the pricks our sins caused Him.

It was surmounted by a cross which signified that, from the first moment of His Incarnation, that is, from the time this Sacred Heart was formed, the cross was planted in It; that It was filled, from the very first moment, with all the bitterness, humiliations, poverty, sorrow, and contempt His sacred humanity would have to suffer during the whole course of His life and during His holy Passion.

He made me understand that the ardent desire He had of being loved by men and of drawing them from the path of perdition into which Satan was hurrying them in great numbers, had caused Him to fix upon this plan of manifesting His Heart to men, together with all Its treasures of love, mercy, grace, sanctification and salvation ... .

This devotion was a last resort of His love .… [He] wished to favour men in these last centuries with his loving redemption, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan, which He intended to destroy, and in order to put us under the sweet liberty of the empire of His love.

Two more times over the next 18 months, her beloved Jesus would appear to her and unveil to her the secrets and desires of His Heart, especially His plan to dethrone the prince of darkness by manifesting Christ’s love for all of humanity. Without a doubt, our Savior commissioned now-St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to spread devotion to His Heart, all aflame with love, as the healing remedy for a world full of cold hearts and broken hearts.
"Vision of Margaret Mary Alacoque, nun of the Visitation" by Armand Cambon, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Montauban, France.

Return His love with love
If we were to read through St. Margaret Mary's autobiography, and all her many letters to her spiritual directors and fellow sisters in religion, we would find a whole panoply of things that Jesus evidently hoped to achieve through His revelations to this humble sister of the Visitation Order.

Above all, He wished humanity to return His love with love; to make reparation to His Heart for our many failures to return His love; to place all our trust in His Heart; to honor Him through the sign and symbol of His Heart; and to grow to love His Heavenly Father more and more.

Jesus sought to pour out upon humanity all the treasures of grace that flow from His Sacred Heart, and to inspire Catholics to work to establish the social reign of His Heart over families and nations everywhere.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us!
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