By Fr. Tirso Villaverde


..."St. Margaret Mary and the Heart of Jesus "

...continued from Home Page

Even at the age of twenty, St. Margaret Mary had received personal and private visions from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But, the visions became more frequent when she entered the convent. Starting on December 27, 1673, she was visited by Jesus himself on several occasions with the last vision taking place about eighteen months later. In these visions, Jesus informed the saint that she was to be the chosen instrument through which he himself would spread devotion to his Sacred Heart.

Jesus’ message

For the longest time, no one would believe the credibility of the visions. Her own Mother Superior rebuffed her. Eventually, she gained the support of her superior but still had a difficult time convincing others. Finally, her confessor Blessed Claude La Colombiere affirmed the genuineness of her visions and the devotion to the Sacred Heart began to spread.

Through St. Margaret Mary, the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was made known not only to the Catholic Church but to the whole world. Through this saintly woman, Jesus has reminded us of his ultimate mission—to share the love of God with all people. This is perhaps a message that the entire world needs to remember especially at this time.

At the heart of Jesus’ message was the command to love God above all others and to love one another as we would love ourselves. This is a message that must be repeated often to every follower of Christ in every time and age. Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary as a reminder to all humankind of his basic command to love God above everyone else and to love one another as we would love ourselves. Love of God is easy enough for anyone to profess. Yet, loving neighbor as we would love ourselves is oftentimes easier said than done.

Sad statistics

Still, the message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the same for us today as when he first appeared to St. Margaret Mary in the 17th century and even when Jesus first walked the earth over 2,000 years ago. Namely, if we want to love God, we must love the human being next to us. If we want to see the face of God, we must see God’s face in every human being we encounter. The Heart of Jesus is a clear reminder to believer and non-believer alike that to look at another human being is to be in the presence of God for humankind was created in the image and likeness of God.

When we are unable or refuse to see the face of God in the face of another human being, it then becomes easy to fall into the trap of believing that the immigrant, the addict, or the unborn are nothing but unwanted entities. When we cannot see that every human face is an instance of God’s presence among us, we will lead ourselves to believe that the poor and the homeless are nothing else but sad statistics. The Heart of Jesus as revealed to St. Margaret Mary teaches all of humanity that loving God and loving neighbor must be more than mere words that we utter. It must be a commitment.

As the Church celebrates St. Margaret Mary and as my parish honors her on our patronal feast day, may the Sacred Heart of Jesus who reminded her of his love make clear once again that love of God and love of neighbor remains at the heart of our calling as human beings and as Christians.





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