BY THE REV. H. NOLDIN, S.J.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN.
REVISED BY THE REV. W. H. KENT, O.S.C
Yet, however zealously devout souls labored to spread the devotion, that which Our Lord had expressly enjoined on B. Margaret to bring about, the institution of a festival in honor of the divine Heart of Jesus, had not as yet been attempted, nor could it be accomplished with out the consent and permission of the Holy See. Application was accordingly made to the proper authorities. But Rome moves slowly, and, true to its conservative principles, it hesitated long before the request was finally granted. The nuns of the Visitation and the ex-Queen Mary of England were the first to solicit in 1697 from Innocent XII. a special Office and Mass in honor of the Heart of Jesus; but their request was not acceded to. In 1707, during the pontificate of Clement XL, the Order of the Visitation renewed their petition, yet again fruitlessly. About twenty years later, when Benedict XIII. filled the Chair of Peter, fresh attempts from various quarters were made to obtain the long-wished-for favor, and great hopes of success were entertained, as the opinion of the Holy Father was known to be favorable. The matter was submitted to the Congregation of Rites for examination. Fr. Galliffet, S.J., who was then residing in Rome, was appointed postulator causes, and Prosper Lambertini promoter fidei. For a long time the reasons pro and con were weighed and examined. Meanwhile Fr. Galliffet was tireless in advocating the cause which he considered it to be his life's task to further; and in his work entitled "On the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and God," he sought to give all the explanations and elucidations that were needed. He did not live to see his dearest wish fulfilled. The Congregation were still adverse to granting the petition laid before them; there were still three difficulties as yet insufficiently solved which stood in the way of a favorable result of the negotiations. The matter in question, it was said, was an innovation and at the best would lead to an unlimited increase in the ecclesiastical festivals; more over, the revelations of B. Margaret had not as yet undergone official examination and received formal approval; and finally, the granting of the petition was in a measure dependent on a philosophical question as yet undecided as to the seat of the sensible affections. Not until renewed appeals were made in the reign of Clement XIII. and the subject again brought before the Congregation of Rites, a lengthy and exhaustive memorial having meanwhile been drawn up by the Polish bishops, in which all remaining difficulties and scruples were removed or explained away, was the petition urged so frequently and from such various quarters, finally granted. Permission was given to celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart, for which a special Office and Mass were appointed, but provisionally only in individual churches on application being made for this permission. Thus official sanction was given to the devotion and it was raised to the rank of an ecclesiastical function. Numerous applications were made from all parts for the privilege of celebrating the newly instituted festival.