St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: A Vocation for Suffering
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is known largely because the Lord chose her to reveal a new form of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She wrote, from the “divine heart three streams flow endlessly.
- The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts sentiments of contrition and repentance.
- The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection to find the means of surmounting their difficulties.
- From the third-stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who have attained perfection; these he wishes to unite to himself so that they may share his knowledge and commandments and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing his glory.
This divine heart is an abyss of all blessings.” (A letter by St Margaret Mary Alacoque)
A Vocation for Suffering
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in 1647 in Burgundy (France) into a wealthy and religious family.
In her memoirs, the saint says that already as a child God made her see “the great ugliness of sin, which caused me so much horror that the slightest fault was for me an unbearable torment.” To this was added a great hunger for prayer and penance, allied to a great compassion for the needy and a desire to help them.
As her father died early, her mother Filiberte gave little Margaret Mary to a convent of Poor Clares.
However, falling seriously ill, she had to return to her mother’s home, where a difficult period of trials began. Disease struck her for four years, preventing her from walking. After making a promise to the Blessed Mother, she regained her health but her suffering only changed form. God permitted this to familiarise her with renunciation and prepare her to embrace the vocation of atonement
[She] received extraordinary mystical graces. She had a familiar relationship with Jesus accompanied by visions: “The Saviour was always present under the figure of the Crucified... carrying His Cross; this image inspired in me so much compassion and love of suffering...” Later she will say, “God has given me so much love for the Cross that I cannot live a moment without suffering...”
...She took the religious habit and made her solemn profession in 1672 at age 25.
As a religious, Margaret Mary seriously strived to progress in the spiritual life... Her courage attracted the favour of God, Who made her hear these inner words: “I am looking for a victim, wishing to sacrifice herself as a host in immolation for the fulfilment of my designs.” Having corresponded to this call, she soon received many great mystical graces.