October 16th and 17th (in the post- and pre-conciliar liturgical calendars, respectively) mark the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. It is from this beautiful saint that the Church and the world came to practice the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Under the care and formation of the Poor Clares from the age of eight, Margaret Mary had a sickly childhood, and in her limited physical state she developed an ardent love for the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of twenty-four, she entered the Visitation Order, and two years later she began to receive mystical revelations from Jesus Christ.
Our Lord informed Margaret Mary that she would be responsible for spreading a new devotion to His Sacred Heart, including the Nine First Fridays and Holy Hour, as well as advocating for the establishment of a feast day for the Sacred Heart.
Her efforts were opposed from within her own convent, as her private revelations provoked skepticism, but in ten years’ time, she would prevail, and devotion to the Sacred Heart became observed privately within the Visitation convent. The work and writings of her confessor, St. Claude de la Colombière, would be instrumental in gaining legitimacy and acceptance of St. Margaret Mary’s revelations on a broader scale.
In 1688, a chapel was built in honor of the Sacred Heart in the convent’s village of Paray-le-Monial, which continues to this day to be a beloved pilgrimage destination.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, PRAY FOR US!
Prayer from the Mass propers of the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst reveal the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart to blesed Margaret, the virgin, grant us, by her merits and our imitation of her that, loving Thee in all things and above all things, we may deserve to have our continual abode in that same Heart of Thine. Who livest and reignest, world without end.
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