St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) is best known for receiving private visions that ultimately led to the practice of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although she came from a wealthy family and could have made a good marriage, she desired to profess religious vows. Life in the monastery was not always an easy fit for her; she struggled with the formal spiritual practices of the community. She also received much criticism for her visions, although her confessor believed them to be authentic. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was not officially recognized until seventy-five years later. Through her mystical experiences, the church received the grace of the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is still a popular devotion today. Her feast day is October 13.
“I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” — St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Questions for Reflection:
The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an uncomfortable one for many of us today. It seems rather gruesome: the heart of Jesus torn open, bleeding and on fire. What does it mean for you to love with the heart of Christ?
When has your heart been broken, or burned, out of compassion for another person?
Have you ever struggled with the traditions of the Church? In what ways have you tried to deal with the issue?