In a world that has fled the wisdom of the Word, that friendship we seek with Our Lord Jesus Christ can seem difficult to achieve - or even to believe in. In today's stress-filled, dollar-dominated and time-scarce society, we easily become overwhelmed by our daily affairs and tumultuous human relationships.
The longings for this eternal and supremely lovable intimacy with the Divine Word were satisfied by Him at a time in history when the heart of man, influenced by rationalism and the Cartesian world view, was becoming cold and distant. In the mid-17th Century, Our Lord appeared to a simple 24-year-old nun of the Order of the Visitation of Our Lady at Paray-le-Monial. "Behold this Heart which has so much loved men," He said, and through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, He invited the whole world to return to this divine intimacy and friendship by means of devotion to His Sacred Heart. It is a message of mercy and love. But it is much more. At this moment in history, it is interesting to look more closely at the invitations of the Sacred Heart to man. For in this message, there is a whole world-view of history, a reiteration of the social teachings of the Church, a call to Catholic Militancy, a rejection of Jansenism, an affirmation of the goodness of abundance and coherence of superfluity, and an invitation to become the Apostles of the Latter Times.
Plan of Devotion to the Heart of Jesus in the Course of History
Adam, king of creation, made of the "slime of the earth and having received the breath of life from God," was a worthy image and likeness of the Creator. (Genesis 2:7) So that he might have a companion in the earthly paradise, God gave him a spouse. God communicated to Adam a mysterious deep sleep, and while Adam slept He took one of the ribs near his heart, and made Eve. (cf. Genesis 2:21-22).
Therefore, while man proceeds from the slime of the earth, the woman proceeds in a certain way from the heart of man. If the first was created outside of Paradise and was introduced as a privilege into it, the second, Eve, was born within Paradise, having as prime matter that which the man had of the most noble, something near his very heart. This is why woman is more refined and fragile than man. And man, made outside of Paradise, is rougher, and stronger by nature. If Adam had governed Creation according to the plan of God, Eve would have been his companion in intimacy and given him repose. From this, one can understand the affirmation of St. Paul (so hated and misunderstood by feminists) that man "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man" (1 Corinthians 11:7-8). Such was the first draft of the plan God had for the first couple, and then, for all humanity.
After man sinned, this plan was upset. From king and queen of all creation, the two in many ways became subject to the earth: "With labor and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life." Man was sentenced to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, and woman to bring forth children in sorrow. (cf. Genesis 3:16-19) These were the sentences of punishment that Adam and Eve brought on themselves and all their progeny. No longer the glory of the friendship of God, the reign over a docile and obedient paradise, but a hostile creation turned against man, and within himself an obscuring of the light of grace, the clouding of the intelligence, the revolt of the will, and the unleashing of the sensibilities. This was the punishment for the disobedience of man to God. In short, the regency of grace over nature and the easy predominance of the spirit over matter were lost.
Our Lord Jesus Christ came to redeem this sin and to alleviate suffering. In a second metaphorical "deep sleep," in the mysterious sleep of the Cross, God took from the open Heart of the Second Adam that perfect Spouse - the Church, which would be for Him the concentration of all His refinements, the joy of His intimacy, and the perfect companion for His repose: His glory on this earth. From the Sacred Side of Christ, the Holy Catholic Church, Mystical Spouse of the Savior would be born. The water and blood flowing from His Sacred Heart would wash the eyes of sinners, open the minds of men to divine light and, falling to the ground, baptize the earth that until then was in the possession of the "prince of this world". This blood and this water would give origin to a river, the river of sacraments from which all graces come. This regenerated earth would permit man to return to that initial plan of God, and even surpass it.
The History of the Redemption is the story of the difficulty of man in conquering the consequences of sin and adapting himself to the desires of God. Even in face of the weakness of man, the Second Adam did not abandon the men He came to save. Seeing their vacillation, their inconstancy, their ingratitude, He offered a solution for this weakness, a stimulus for the fight. He came to open to the world a new and surprising door to perfection. As Divine Wisdom became Man in order to draw the hearts of men to love and imitate Him, He now came to bring His Sacred Heart to men. And His Heart which, in the beginning of the History of Redemption, formed the Mystical Spouse of Christ, now, in the latter times, comes to give it relief, to prepare for the apogee and glorification of the Church.