BY THE REV. H. NOLDIN, S.J.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN.
REVISED BY THE REV. W. H. KENT, O.S.C
All her thoughts and affections were centred on this one object, the Heart of her Lord and Saviour; her aspirations, her prayers, all her works and her sufferings were directed to no other end than the propagation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; every word she uttered, every line she wrote had this for its single aim. Great as was her natural aversion to speak or write on any subject, she overcame her disinclination whenever an occasion presented itself to extol and recommend to others her favourite devotion. 1 Her state of life precluded her from any other external activity for the furtherance of the devotion, yet the unspeakable joy was afforded her, after, it is true, experiencing much opposition and bitter suffering, of seeing it enthusiastically taken up and zealously practised in the Order of which she was a member. As for Father de la Colombiere, it may be seen from his own memoranda how unremittingly and indefatigably this fervent servant of God devoted his life to the execution of the task entrusted to him by his divine Master Himself. In his sermons, his spiritual conferences, his discourses, his letters, at all times and in all places he calls upon those whom he addresses to adore the Heart of Jesus and induce others to adore it also.
Yet if the devotion was to be more widely known and practised among all ranks of society, it was necessary that books and pamphlets explaining and advocating it should be disseminated amongst the working classes. Our Lord had already revealed to B. Margaret Mary that a work of this description should be composed by Fr. Croiset, and give a powerful impetus to the devotion. The book in question appeared at last in the year 1691, and as Margaret Mary was then dead (she died on 17th October, 1690) there was no objection to a biography of the departed nun and an account of the marvels which the Lord had wrought in her being added to it. This circumstance contributed vastly to interest the reader in the devotion and aid in its diffusion.
1 The writings which we have from the pen of B. Margaret Mary, composed principally during the later portion of her life, are: 1. An autobiography, written in obedience to the order of her confessor (Fr. Ignatius Rolin, S.J.); 2. A considerable number of letters, all of them written for the purpose of promoting the devotion to the Heart of Jesus; 3. A series of counsels, hints, and instructions concerning the spiritual life, given, some orally, some in writing, while she was mistress of novices; 4. A collection of prayers and aspirations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, composed for her own use and to be given to others. All these writings were arranged and published in two volumes on the occasion of her beatification by the Convent of the Visitation in Paray, entitled Vie et (Euvres de la B. Marg. Marie Alacoque.