Today, 16 Oct 2011, the Church recalls many outstanding Saints and how I wish I had time and talent enough to honour them all. St Margaret Mary Alacoque was chosen in the 17th century to transmit the messages of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the world. To her we turn then, when we wish to learn how to please Him best.
These quotations from her writings come from the booklet called ‘Thoughts and Sayings of St Margaret Mary’ for May 10 and May 11, which were compiled by the Sisters of the Visitation, the Order that she belonged to, and which St Francis de Sales and St Jane Frances de Chantal founded.
“Let us adore and love God through the adorable Heart of Jesus: let us do all our actions in Him; let us beg Him to do all in us and for us, and to restore us to grace by uniting us again to His Father, when sin has separated us from Him.”
“One of the ways most pleasing to God of keeping ourselves in His holy presence, is to enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to commit to Him the care of ourselves. We must abide therein as in an abyss of love, and lose in it that which is of ourselves, so that He may substitute that which is of Himself.”
Back over 15 years ago I came across a book containing the Letters of St Margaret Mary, and promptly purchased it. However I never finished reading it, since someone came along for whom these letters were much needed, and the book was never returned. Today I decided to stop griping about this, since the book was truly a great treasure, and see if it was still in print. Tan Books still print it, (Thanks be to God!) so my order has been placed. From memory those letters were so full of consolation for anyone going through sufferings of any kind.
From the action of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in St Margaret Mary’s life we have received many practical helps to holiness : the Holy Hour, the devotion of the nine First Fridays, the placement of images of His Sacred Heart in prominent places in our homes, training in reparation for sin and more. One practical help that few know about is the 33 Adorations of the Cross on Fridays. The text of the promise is as follows:
“One Friday,during Holy Mass, I felt a great desire to honour the sufferings of my crucified Spouse. He told me lovingly that He desired me, every Friday, to adore Him 33 times upon the Cross, the throne of His mercy. I was to prostrate myself humbly at His feet, and try to remain there in the dispositions of the Blessed Virgin during His Passion. I was to offer these acts of adoration to the Eternal Father together with the sufferings of her divine Son, to beg of Him the conversion of all hardened and faithless hearts who resist the impulse of His grace. He told me, moreover, that at the hour of death He will be favourable to those who have been faithful to this practice.”
The Visitation Sisters added the following commentary: “These 33 acts of devotion of Our Lord on the Cross may be made anywhere on Fridays, and even while attending to one’s ordinary work. They require no special attitude, formula or vocal prayer. A simple look of love and contrition coming from the depths of our heart and sent up to our crucified Lord is sufficient to express our adoration and gratutude to Him. It is also an appeal to the Blessed Virgin to intercede with the Heavenly Father for the conversion of sinners. The efficacy of this devotion is proved by the consoling conversions which it obtains and by the holy deaths which are its fruit.”
This devotion is a really good way to enter into that spirit of prayer and penance that the Church so strongly recommends on Fridays. One practical way to do it goes like this: Set up several crucifixes or pictures of crucifixes around your home and/or your place of work. Then each Friday take special care to stop each time you pass one of the crucifixes, to look, to bow, and to offer up a prayer. Praying ‘We adore you O Christ and we praise You, because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world” works for me, since by the first few I have often run out of new adoration thoughts to pray. I leave the counting of the 33 adorations in the hands of the good Lord and of my guardian angel, and just try to be diligent and to do as many as possible. I leave to Him, too, the outcome of those prayers. That He will act is certain. When He will act on behalf of this soul is up to Him. It is truly amazing how He provides someone new to pray for each Friday, often through a chance conversation during the week and particularly on Thursdays.
Such enormous graces have come to us from the fathfulness of St Margaret Mary to carrying out the Will of God, and from her intercession. Let us be thankful and learn from her how best to be pleasing to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.