Today marks the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Our Lord appeared in the 17th century. Although devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had already been revealed to St. Gertrude centuries before, it is almost always thought of in conjunction with today’s saint.
This devotion to the Sacred Heart is not something that belongs to the past. Like Our Lord Himself, it is outside of time, and it is still quite relevant today. Most interesting is the devotion in connection with religious persecution.
What are we talking about?
On June 17, 1689 Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary saying that He wanted the King of France (Louis XIV) to consecrate himself and the nation to “my adorable Heart. It wants to triumph over his and, through him, over the hearts of the great ones of the earth. It wants to reign in his palace, be painted on his standards, and engraved on his arms, so that they may be victorious over all his enemies. It wants to bring low these proud and stubborn heads and make him triumphant over all the enemies of holy Church.”
Regrettably for France, and the rest of the world, Louis XIV did not consecrate his kingdom to Our Lord’s Sacred Heart. Nor did his son. Nor did his grandson – until it was too late. Exactly 100 years to the day that our Lord gave this message to St. Margaret Mary, the National Assembly stripped Louis XVI of his power. Less than four years later he met his fate at the guillotine. The night before his execution he consecrated France to the Sacred Heart, but the enemies of the Church were already well on their way to triumph.
How different might things have been if Our Lord’s request had been heeded. Despite the lack of confidence those three kings apparently had in Our Lord, there have been many faithful who have painted the Sacred Heart on their standards and engraved It on their arms. The Vendean army in France, the Cristeros in Mexico, and the Catholic Carlists during the Spanish Civil War, all wore badges of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into battle.
As many in America grow more and more intolerant of Christianity let us entrust ourselves and our beloved nation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. During our time in this vale of tears we must hold fast to the promise He made to St. Margaret Mary: “Fear nothing, I will reign in spite of my enemies.”