St Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.
Today is the Feast of Ste Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, the great Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Christ our King.
At Paray, in the diocese of Autun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. She made her profession in the Order of the Visitation of Blessed Mary the Virgin, and she excelled with great merit in spreading devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and in furthering its public veneration. Pope Benedict XV added her name to the list of holy virgins.From the Roman Martyrology.
The Lessons from the Roman Breviary for the Mattins of her Feast:
Margaret Mary Alacoque was born of a respectable family in a village in the diocese of Autun. From her earliest years she gave signs of holiness. Filled with a burning love of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the august mystery of the Eucharist, while still a young girl she dedicated her virginity to God. Above all else she strove to realize in her life the performance of Christian virtues. She delighted to spend continuous hours in prayers and in meditation upon the things of heaven. She was humble, and patient in adversity. She practised bodily penance. She was charitable towards her neighbours, especially the poor. By every means within her power she strove diligently to imitate the most holy example left by our divine Redeemer.
Margaret entered the Order of the Visitation. There her life became immediately a shining example to others. God endowed her highly with the gift of prayer. He gave her other favours, such as frequent visitations. The most famous of these was that one when Jesus appeared to her as she knelt in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Opening his breast he revealed his divine Heart glowing with flames and encircled with a crown of thorns. He bade her in return for his excessive love and in atonement for the insults of ungrateful men, to seek to have established public adoration of his Heart. This devotion he promised to enrich with treasures of heavenly grace. When, out of humility, she hestitated to undertake so great a task, the loving Saviour encouraged her. At the same time he pointed out Claude de la Colombière, a man of great holiness, as one who could guide and help her. Our Lord also comforted her with the assurance that very great blessings would accrue afterwards to the Church from the worship of his divine Heart.
Margaret strove ardently to fulfil the Redeemer's command. Vexations, even bitter insults were her portion from some who maintained that she was subject to mental aberrations. She not only bore these sufferings patiently, she even profited by them, offering herself in anguish and reproach as a victim acceptable to God, bearing all things as a more sure means of accomplishing her purpose. Renowned for her religious perfection, becoming each day more closely united with her divine spouse by contemplation of celestial things, she took flight to him in the forty-third year of her age, and in the year of restored salvation 1690. She became famous for miracles. Benedict XV added her to the list of the saints ; Pius XI extended her office to the universal Church.
The Collect of her Feast from the Roman Breviary.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wondrous manner didst make known unto blessed Margaret Mary thy Virgin, the unsearchable riches of thy Heart : grant us, by her merits and example ; that we may love thee in all things, and far above all things, and so find in thy Heart an habitation wherein we may dwell for ever more. Who livest and reignest with the Father.
An Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
I, N... N... give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being save to honour, love and glorify the Sacred Heart.
This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.
I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.
Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God Thy Father, and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in Thee, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.
Do Thou consume in me all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will; let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart, that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee or to be separated from Thee; may I obtain from all Thy loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Thee, for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory, living and dying in very bondage to Thee. Amen.
Her biography from the Catholic Encyclopædia.
An interesting article on her home town, from the same.