Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (Feast: October 16): The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
By Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, 1647-1690, had heavy burdens from her earliest years. She lost her father to pneumonia when she was only eight years old. After her father died she was sent to the Urbanist sisters where the order and peace of soul ushered in by the convent life swept her up into her devotions. From early on she took great comfort and consolation in the Blessed Sacrament. She impressed her order of nuns by her faithfulness so much that she was invited to make her First Holy Communion when she was nine years old.
When Saint Mary Margaret was eleven years old she suffered paralysis from rheumatic fever. She embraced her suffering by way of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. She began to be gifted with visions for her faithful devotion. She was healed from her rheumatic fever and the accompanying infirmities by a vision of Holy Mother Mary, who impelled her to devote her life to God, which she did with unusual fervor.
As an additional consolation for her devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart, Saint Mary Margret received visions from the Savior, one of which was of His scourging. This prompted her to her final vows in 1672. Christ revealed more to Mary Margaret during her devotions by saying to her: “Look at this heart which has loved people so much, and yet they do not want to love me in return. Through you, My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.” Jesus proceeded to make many promises to her and to those who honor His Sacred Heart as she had. We have passed onto us from the writings of St. Mary Margaret Alocoque twelve of the most powerful promises Christ reveals to her in consequence of a particular devotion to which we are all invited.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus consists primarily of attending Holy Mass for nine consecutive first Fridays for nine consecutive months. This devotion must be carried out with great love for Jesus and in reparation for those souls who reject Him. Friday is a day chosen by Christ Himself and those committed to this holy devotion must partake of the Blessed Sacrament. All those choosing to partake in the devotion are reminded that Christ does not release us from our holy obligations and that we must practice our devotions with an increased vigilance. Christ’s sacred promises grant abundant graces to His faithful to overcome the temptations hindering the efforts to persevere to the final end in a state of grace.
This list of twelve promises does not comprise all of the promises Christ made to Saint Mary Margaret concerning the devotion to His Sacred Heart. These are the twelve promises most likely to draw faithful souls to this most worthy devotion. But still, they are only a few of the many graces promised to those willing to offer up their broken hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for nine consecutive first Fridays.
- Christ promises: “I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.” Our particular gifts and challenges carry with them different needs for different graces. Our individual particular state in life will be met with the requisite graces to strengthen the bond of sanctity to His Sacred Heart and thus prepare our way to salvation.
- Christ promises: “I will give peace in their families.” In these troubled times when the family is under such immense attack from the powers and principalities seeking to destroy our bond with God, the consolation of peace in the family is devoutly to be wished. Who would not greatly prize bringing the graces of peace to his family that they may draw closer to the imitation of the Holy Family?
- Christ promises: “I will console them in all their troubles.” Surely troubles abound in this vale of tears, let us devote ourselves to the Sacred Heart and enjoy the comfort only the Lord can give. Though our troubles will never vanish on this side of Paradise. Christ’s consolations make all things bearable. Further, by Christ’s abundant graces, our troubles become the means to the further conversion of our hearts by the fruits of redemptive suffering.
- Christ promises: “They shall find in my heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.” At what precise moment are we in the greatest need of Christ’s graces? At the hour of our death. Most welcome is this promise to be with us at that hour that signals our departure from this mortal world as we either ascend or descend to our final destination. With Christ present to us at our final hour, we are assured the most efficacious means of salvation.
- Christ promises: “I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.” In the great and small things we undertake, may God sanctify our every action so that we may amass treasure in heaven while we live in this world, all the while trying not to be of it. Our final disposition may require a cost of reserves not available here on earth. Certainly it is wise to invest in our eternal future and with the help of God’s graces, all the more profitable.
- Christ promises: “Sinners shall find in my heart the source and infinite Ocean of mercy.” As Holy Mother Church is a hospital for sinners and no man is capable of nearing perfection without the grace of God, let us accept the gift of infinite mercy offered to the faithful by this devotion. To benefit from this extraordinary offer of mercy we must accept it by the submission of our broken hearts to our Father in heaven.
- Christ promises: “Tepid souls shall become fervent.” The promise of a heart on fire for Christ saves the tepid soul from the slothful spiritual malaise that grips this mortal coil. The tepid will be spewed from His mouth with more violently than the rebellious will be rejected. Let God makes us pleasing to His sight by a fervent heart.
- Christ promises: “Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.” Once the tepid heart is imbued with fervency, the soul will be given further graces to advance towards the perfection required by the good citizen belonging to the City of God.
- Christ promises: “I will bless the homes in which the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.” As soon as is possible let us procure an image of Christ’s Sacred Heart for prominent display in our homes that we may be reminded daily to accept the abundant graces flowing towards us. Dare to house the family at peace by God’s grace in a peaceful home with the icon of Christ’s love, the image of His Sacred Heart.
- Christ promises: “I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.” Let us contribute to our communities by ushering graces onto our shepherds to draw more souls into the Body of Christ. Imagine what joy there will be in heaven at the conversion of each hardened heart!
- Christ promises: “Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in my heart and it shall never be effaced.” The indelible imprint of our names on Christ’s own heart a consolation too precious to bear. Let it happen as He promises and let us be drawn into a permanent bond with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by the ineffaceable imprint of our names on His Sacred Heart!
- Christ Promises: “The all-powerful love of my Heart will grant to all those who shall receive communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; my heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.”
The grace of final repentance ends with a soul gazing on the face of God in beatitude for eternity. Let us follow the eternal wisdom of St. John the Baptist who commanded us to “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!” Let us begin to repent now and accept Christ’s offer of abundant graces by redoubling our efforts towards sanctity committing our whole hearts to the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Then let us cooperate as fully as is humanly possible in order that the divine graces promised by the embrace of this most Holy Devotion get properly used to their maximum effect.
It would take but one hundred good souls faithfully committed to the next nine months of first Friday devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and we would have a spiritual revolution whose final end would be to colonize heaven. With one hundred faithful souls across the globe we could allow God to use us to weave a web of Faith unifying vast and disparate places by the divine wealth gained for the edification of the spiritual economy. We would amass enough graces to cleanse entire communities, to bring peace to abundant homes, and to soothe uncountable restless hearts, all the while gaining many new citizens for the City of God.
It is my most fervent wish and my most heartfelt prayer that some of those who read this missive may join me and many of my friends to begin a serious and solemn devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I implore all of you to follow through with this devotion faithfully for the next consecutive nine months. We must allow the graces offered by the Sacred Heart of Jesus to work through us to make all things new by the delivery of and cooperation with the divine and sanctifying graces.