In the past weeks I have been graced with an extraordinary favour from God; that of visiting Paray-le-Monial. In other words, the birthplace of the public devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In this small town of five thousand inhabitants, in the Department of Sâone-Loire, Diocese of Autun, Burgundy, in Eastern France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque(1647-1690) received the vision of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, starting from 1673. In the chapel of the Visitation convent, Saint Margaret Mary, a cloistered nun, saw Jesus’ heart blazing like the sun.
The message Jesus communicated to this French consecrated nun, whose first vision occurred on December 27 1673, demonstrated in itself a God filled with immense love for His beloved children. As she later narrated Jesus said on that day: “My Sacred Heart is so intense in its love for men, and for you in particular, that not being able to contain within it the flames of its ardent charity, they must be transmitted through all means.” Because God is so respectful to our understanding, Jesus revealed Himself to her in a manner she could comprehend. In fact, Sr. Margaret Mary saw a human heart aflame with love. Furthermore, Jesus promised her that He would be present in a singular way to the devotees of His Sacred Heart. He also assured her that His presence would bring about peace in families, the conversion of sinners, ample blessings and perseverance at the point of death.
Jesus gave twelve promises for those who will devote their lives to His Sacred Heart. In Jesus’ own words these are: (1) I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life; (2) I will establish peace in their families; (3) I will console them in all their troubles; (4) They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death; (5) I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings; (6) Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy; (7) Tepid souls shall become fervent; (8) Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection; (9) I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honoured; (10) I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts; (11) Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced; and (12) The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
Jesus’ twelve promises for those who ardently love and propagate His immense loving Heart unravel what Saint John tells us in his gospel: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). You and me are His own! He created, saved and sanctifies us by His Holy Spirit! He underwent His passion, death and resurrection because you and me are His own! He wants us to be always with Him!
To Saint Margaret Mary as well as to you and me, Jesus says: “Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth”. Yes! Through you! Whoever you are! Whatever your past or present! In Jesus God is powerful enough to change my and your “heart of stone” into a “heart of flesh”. You and me are called to let Jesus’ Heart empower us so that, through us, Jesus can nowadays transform resentment, hatred, suspicion, revenge, loneliness, indifference and all kinds of isolation into pure communion of love, forgiveness, kindness, mercy, generosity, patience and peace.
If the heart of Jesus is able to perform this greatest of miracles, that of changing our hearts, then, as Pope Francis said, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is truly “the great act, the great work of salvation, the great work of Redemption”.
Let us publicize Jesus’ Heart by our lives, our words, our behaviour, and, why not, by our Facebook page too!