The Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Symbol of Combativity and the Restoration of Christendom |
The Sacred Heart and the Armed Fight in Defense of the Faith
The Sacred Heart revealed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque that He wanted His Sacred Heart "to reign in the King's palace, to be painted on his standards and engraved on his arms, in order to render him victorious over all his enemies".
Bougard, The Life of St. Margaret Mary, p. 269.
In a later letter to her Mother Superior, Sister Margaret Mary revealed that the Divine Heart wished "to be the protector and defender of his sacred person [Louis XIV] against all his enemies visible and invisible. By means of this devotion He wants to defend him and make his salvation sure. … He will make all his undertakings redound to His glory by granting happy success to his armies."
Our Lord did not hesitate to ask that the symbol of His great love for man be painted on the arms of Catholic warriors. This is quite different from a number of today's ecumenical ecclesiastics who never tire of asking pardon of the enemies of the Church for the use of Catholic arms in defense of the Faith. How would they explain that Our Lord even went so far as to guarantee His participation in the battles that the King of France should wage in the religious wars of the epoch and to request that His Heart be painted on the arms themselves? He promised victory to those Catholic warriors, offering His Heart as a support like a General who brings his troops an invincible new strategic weapon.
Unfortunately, Louis XIV did not attend to the requests of Our Lord. Yet others did. These were the chouans, those glorious peasants of the Vendée and Bretagne who rose up against the French Revolution one century later to fight for the restoration of the Monarchy. On their arms they painted the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on their bodies they bore the badge of the Sacred Heart, popularized by St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
Michael Davies, For Altar and Throne: The Rising in the Vendée, St. Paul: The Remnant, 1997, p. 33.
Likewise, the Carlists with their red berets and battle cry of "Viva Christo Rey" in the Spanish Civil War of the '30s put the emblem of the Sacred Heart on their rifles, revolvers, heavy arms and even their tanks.
Perhaps one of the most moving examples of how Our Lord desired to work through one man to win a nation to His Loving Heart is the case of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, the President of Ecuador martyred by the Freemasons in 1875 outside the cathedral where he had just received First Friday Communion. Two years before this, the President of this Republic made a public consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and enacted a law unique in national lawmaking:
"Article 1: The Republic of Ecuador consecrates itself to the Holy Heart of Jesus, proclaiming it as Patron and Protector.
The dying words of this magnificent Catholic statesman were "Courage! God never dies!"
"Article 2: The Feast of that same Sacred Heart of Jesus is prescribed as a civil first-class holyday, to be observed in every cathedral of this Republic by diocesan prelates with all possible ceremony."
Rev. Arthur R. McGratty, S.J. The Sacred Heart: Yesterday and Today, NY: Benzinger Bros., 1951, p.p. 202-3.
There is a tendency in our days to emphasize the goodness, gentleness and pity of the Magnificent Heart of Jesus, Who is certainly moved by the weakness and distress of those whom He loves. But the good shepherd is also a hero and a warrior; and His love is essentially a contending kind of love. The Heart of Christ longs to win a battle: "Do not imagine that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace."
How admirable is this command of Our Lord to have His Sacred Heart painted on the French standards. It is noteworthy that in this epoch the use of national flags was not yet the general custom. But from the earliest ages, France had always had a sacred standard with the three fleurs-de-lis, one that rested in the sanctuary of St. Denis and was brought out in hours of danger or holy war. It symbolized the Catholic soul of France, and floated like a sacred prayer amid the nation's banners.
According to a beautiful tradition, before a crucial battle against the fierce Allemani in 496, King Clovis of the Franks called on the "God of Clotilda". (St. Clotilda, his spouse, a Burgundian princess instrumental in his conversion.) He begged protection for the battle ahead and if he won, he promised to convert to the Catholic Faith. During a very difficult moment of the combat, the symbol of the King of Franks, a banner with three frogs, miraculously changed into another with the three fleurs-de-lis. From this time forward the fleur-de-lis was the principle symbol of the Kings of France. It is interesting to imagine the fortuitous results of the addition of the Sacred Heart to the delicate three fleurs-de-lis. The French, certainly lacking in neither good taste nor a refined sense of aesthetics would have been naturally disposed to take this command of Our Lord and render the most magnificent expressions of the Catholic spirit. Unhappily, this is not what happened. The words of St. Margaret Mary in 1689 were not heeded, and one century later the storm rose that swept away the French monarchies and, with it, other monarchies.
Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D. and Atila Sinke Guimarães
For more details and books by both these authors, see www.traditioninaction.org.
Part Four: The Sacred Heart and the Glorification of the Superfluous
August 13-15, 2001
volume 12, no. 142
CULTIVATING CATHOLIC CULTURE