Monday 8 February 2016

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Centenary of Fatima

On the centenary of the apparitions of the Angel of Peace to the shepherd children of Fatima, it should be worth contemplating the famous private revelation given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, requesting the king to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 17th June, 1689. The requested consecration wasn't carried out, and as a consequence on 17th June 1789, exactly 100 years later, the Third Estate proclaimed itself as the National Assembly, which stripped the king of his legislative powers during the French Revolution.
Sr. Lucia received a number of private revelations which referenced this apparition, indicating that the consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was similarly comprised of a 100 year period. This has led many Catholics to conclude that the upcoming centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 2017 is of crucial importance to the Secret of Fatima itself.
A comparison between both requests for consecration was made during an apparition to Sr. Lucia at Rianjo in 1931:
They did not wish to heed My request! Like the King of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors throughout the world, provoking wars, and persecutions against the Church; the Holy Father will have much to suffer.

This apparition was also referred to in the appendix of Sr. Lucia's autobiography:

Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.’ (Sr. Lucia, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, p199)

Although the apparition of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is well known, its exact content is very often overlooked. So I thought it would be worth posting it here. St. Margaret Mary revealed the contents of this private revelation to her Mother Superior, Madam Saumaise, which was recounted in a book written in 1874, The Life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque by Emile Bougaud, the Bishop of Laval:
The second letter, though in a different sense, is much more important. It was written on coming out of ecstasy, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart itself, Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament, June 17, 1689. The Spirit of God had rested on the holy Sister, and displayed to her in prophetic light His designs of mercy on France.

There is to the devotion of the Sacred Heart a private and a social side. Margaret Mary begins with the first.

 "In fine, my dear Mother," she writes, "are we not all consumed in the burning heat of His pure love? It will reign, this amiable Heart, in spite of Satan, his imps and his agents. This word transports me with joy. But to be able to express to you the great graces and benedictions it will attract upon all that shall have procured it the most honor and glory is what I cannot do in the way that He has given me to understand it.

 "He has made me see the devotion to His Sacred Heart as a beautiful tree, destined from all eternity to spring up and take root in the midst of our Institute, and to extend its branches into the houses that compose it, so that each may gather from it fruits most pleasing to her liking and taste. But He desires that the daughters of the Visitation should distribute abundantly to all that will eat of it the fruits of this sacred tree. By this means He desires to restore life to many; and, by withdrawing them from the way of perdition, and de­stroying the empire of Satan in their heart, to establish in them that of His love."

Behold the first design, the supernatural, the special side of devotion to the Sacred Heart, that which re­gards souls at all times and in all places. Margaret Mary continues: "But He does not wish to stop here. He has still greater designs, which can be executed only by His almighty power."

Which are those designs that the Saint calls the greatest, and for which she invokes the All-powerful?

"He desires, then, it seems to me, to enter with pomp and magnificence into the palaces of kings and princes, therein to be honored as much as He has been despised, humiliated, and outraged in His Passion. May He receive as much pleasure therein at seeing the great ones of the world abasing and humbling themselves before Him as He once felt bitterness at behold­ing Himself annihilated at their feet!"

 The tone of these words convinces one that Margaret Mary, when uttering them, was in a sort of ecstasy. What follows leaves no room for doubt on the subject. "Here are," she continues, "the words that I heard on this point: 'make known to the eldest son of my heart,' speaking of our king, ' that as his temporal birth was obtained through devotion to the merits OF MY HOLY CHILDHOOD, IN THE SAME MANNER he WILL OBTAIN HIS BIRTH OF GRACE AND ETERNAL GLORY BY THE CONSECRATION THAT HE WILL MAKE OF HIMSELF TO my adorable heart, which wishes to triumph over his heart, and by his mediation over those of the great ones of the world. it wishes to reign in his palace, TO BE PAINTED ON HIS STANDARDS AND ENGRAVEN ON HIS ARMS, IN ORDER TO RENDER HIM VICTORIOUS OVER ALL HIS ENEMIES."...

In letter sent to Madam Saumaise in August 1689, St. Margaret Mary wrote an account of another apparition which took place after this:

"The Eternal Father, wishing to repair the bitter­ness and agony that the Adorable Heart of His Divine Son endured in the palaces of earthly princes, amidst the humiliations and outrages of His Passion, wishes to establish His empire in the heart of our great monarch, of whom He desires to make use in the execution of His design, which is to have an edifice erected in which shall be a picture of His divine Heart, to receive the conse­cration and homage of the king and all the court.

 " Moreover, this divine Heart wishes to make itself the defender of the sacred person of the king, his protector against all his enemies. Therefore has it chosen him as its faithful friend, to have the Mass authorized by the Holy Apostolic See, and to obtain all the other privileges that ought to accompany devotion to this divine Heart.

 "It is by this divine Heart that God wishes to dispense the treasures of His graces of sanctification and salvation, by bestowing His benediction on the king's undertakings, according a happy success to his arms, and making him triumph over the malice of his enemies."