Have you ever heard the expression in Catholic circles that “the saint picks you”?!
When I was in 8th grade and preparing for my confirmation, I sat looking through a long list of saints reading patiently to see which one jumped out at me. It was just a list of names with no explanation of the saints.
Then I found her – St. Margaret Mary.
She was the perfect match for me because my grandmother’s name is Margaret and my mom’s name is Mary. Done. Check.
Little did I know that this woman, this lover, this saint, would be at the heart of and patron of all that I am called to in my vocation. Honestly, her message is at the heart of every person in every vocation.
St. Margaret Mary was the French Roman Catholic nun and mystic that Jesus chose to spread the message of and devotion to His Sacred Heart. Although she tirelessly worked to do this while she was alive, the devotion wasn’t actually recognized till 75 years after her death!
In 1675 Jesus began to appear to her over a period of 18 months, and one of her visions contained this message from Jesus as he exposed his human heart to her:
“Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this sacrament of love…. I come into the heart I have given you in order that through your fervor you may atone for the offenses which I have received from lukewarm and slothful hearts that dishonor me in the Blessed Sacrament.”— Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 1675
Many Catholics have a devotion to the Sacred Heart, which includes attendance and reception of Holy Communion at First Friday Mass. Jesus also asked that a Holy Hour of Adoration be attended weekly on Thursday evening, in remembrance of His Agony in the Garden and as an offering for the lukewarmness of the large majority of his people towards the Blessed Sacrament. He expressed a deep sadness to St. Margaret Mary and asked that she participate in these as an act of reparation for souls who were lukewarm and failed to keep their promise to have Him as their only love.
For those who practiced and spread this devotion, Our Lord promised, “I will establish peace in their families. I will console them in all their difficulties. I will be their assured refuge in life, and more especially at death…” (p. 149)
Then a greater promise was made to those who attend 9 consecutive First Friday Masses. Our Lord promised the grace of “final repentance.” You are assured the opportunity to receive the sacraments before your death. What a gift!
St. Margaret Mary was to let the world know of His Sacred Heart that “spared nothing!”
How would my life be different if I actually remembered each moment that the heart of Jesus spared nothing for me? Where would my fear go? How much more would I trust Him?
Take the time to read about this beautiful woman, who spread the message and devotion to the Greatest Heart man has ever known. If only every man knew.
I am forever grateful that St. Margaret Mary introduced herself to me so many years ago. Her message continues to be a beautiful reminder to me in my small daily acts of love… presenting them to the aching Sacred Heart of Jesus as an act of gratitude in return for His love that spared nothing for me.
Suggested reading and citations from
Windeatt, Mary Fabyan. Saint Margaret Mary and the Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tan Books and Publishers Inc., 1953.