Today the Church celebrates the feast of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Born in France in 1647, Margaret Mary Alacoque was crippled by a disease at age 8. After promising to give her life to Jesus’ service, she was miraculously healed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 23, she entered the Visitation Order of Nuns.
Sister Margaret Mary loved our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament—the consecrated Body of Christ from Holy Communion, which is kept in the tabernacles of Catholic churches—very much. The world had grown cold and unresponsive to God and His offer of salvation through the grace His Son won for us all on the Cross. Over the course of a few years, Jesus appeared to Margaret, revealing to her His Sacred Heart.
The flames coming forth from Jesus’ Heart remind us of His burning love for us and His desire that we love Him in return. The crown of thorns around His Heart reminds us of His sacrifice for us and His invitation that we offer our sufferings to Him, as Saint Paul teaches us: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).
Jesus made at least twelve promises to Sister Margaret Mary, revealing the abundance of His love and telling her how He would help those who honor His Sacred Heart. He said, “Behold this Heart which has loved men and women so much, and yet they do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.” He further promised, “I will bless every home in which an image of My Heart will be honored.”
Sister Margaret Mary died in 1690, and was canonized a saint in 1920.