by Boudreaux, Florentin, 1821-1894
Bl. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in France, A. D. 1647, and entered the convent of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671. In 1675 she had the vision which may be called the origin of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. She died Oct. 17th, 1690, and was beatified by Pope Pius IX. on the 19th of August, 1864.
ALTHOUGH we cannot say that the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as revealed to the Faithful through the Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, had been, before her time, entirely unknown in the Church; yet it is evident that the Providence of God, which ever watches over the fortunes of His Church, gave her this devotion in our times, as a special protection from special dangers and as the means most adapted to secure her children against the wily stratagems of their enemies. Satan and the world are ever plotting the destruction of the Church ; ever prowling around the Paradise in which God’s children enjoy the sweets of their Father’s prodigal love ; ever striving to scale its walls and to lay waste its fair domain. But God has spoken His infallible promise; His Church shall not perish. Satan shall not prevail against her. For every new attack, He gives a new defence ; for every stratagem, He devises .a victorious safeguard; to every new danger, He opposes a new and more than sufficient protection. Every evil that threatens, has its appropriate remedy. And this is so true, that we can always detect the evil, even when it is most artfully concealed ; we can tell its peculiar character, by the remedy which God prepares to counteract it. But in no instance has this wonderful action of Divine Wisdom been more conspicuous, than in the adaptation of the devotion, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the necessities and the dangers of the Church in these evil days upon which our lot has fallen. In former ages, the combats between the rival powers of the City of God and the City of Satan, were chiefly on the fields of the intellect. At first, Christian truth boldly attacked heathen philosophy, and it bled on the racks and on the scaffolds of Roman persecutors, till exhausted paganism could persecute no longer. Catholic dogma then found other opponents in the schisms and heresies which assailed one stronghold after another, until the grand fortress of Catholic theology stood firmly seated and fully defended with tower and moat and battlements, proof against every effort of the foe. Now, the battle- field is transferred to the moral nature of man ; the heart is aimed at by the powers leagued against God.