THURSDAY-SUNDAY
August 9-12, 2001
volume 12, no. 141

The Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Symbol of Combativity and the Restoration of Christendom

Part Two:
The Heart of Jesus: an Aristocratic Devotion Aiming for the Restoration of Christendom

    In the revelations of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), there are clear requests that devotion to His Sacred Heart should begin with King Louis XIV and the French court, and from there extend to the rest of the kingdoms of Christendom and the whole world. In a letter from the Saint to her Superior in 1689 she stated that the Sacred Heart had "even greater designs" than the first design of being praised and known by individual souls. "He desires, then, it seems to me," she wrote, "to enter with pomp and magnificence into the palaces of Kings and Princes, therein to be honored as much as He has been despised, humiliated and outraged in His Passion."[2]

    Rt. Rev. Emile Bougard, The Life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Rockford: TAN, 1990, p. 268.
    She said that Our Lord wanted to receive "the consecration and homage of the King and his whole court". It was over the heart of the King himself that the Sacred Heart desired to triumph, and then, "by his mediation over those of the great ones of the world".[3]
    Ibid p. 269.
    It is hard to imagine a more efficacious plan to spread devotion to the Heart of Jesus throughout the world. The brilliance of the kingdom and person of Louis XIV (1638-1715) were at its apogee. Few epochs in history have seen a personality so strong and penetrating as that of the Sun King, whose rays and influence penetrated every court in Europe. Politically speaking, Louis XIV shone in no extraordinary way. But in the social and cultural realms, this King marked his century as no other. Among the other European monarchs, he stood out and his court and customs were imitated everywhere. Others looked, admired, copied: their palaces were inspired by the Versailles model. The most elegant and admired ceremonies, clothing, furniture, art works, music, dances, and gardens were those of the French court. If there was a single man in an age who set the tone for all Europe, this epoch was the Grand Siècle, the 17th Century, and this man was Louis XIV, the Sun King. At this time France, in the words of Lord Macaulay, had "over the surrounding countries both the ascendancy that Rome had over Greece and the ascendency that Greece had over Rome".[4]
    Nancy Mitford, The Sun King, New York: Crescent Books, 1966, p. 32.
    Our Lord could not have designed and chosen a more brilliant and efficient instrument in the secular sphere to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart than to ask the King of France to help make it grow and expand throughout the world. Our Lord desired in this way to move the kingdom of France, and then, "all the great men of the earth" so that He might be adored "in the palaces of the Princes and the Kings." This was, therefore, the desire for a devotion that would permeate the most royal and aristocratic ambiences as well as the humblest of peasant households. Thus would it spread through the whole social body.

    This is a principle that seems to be forgotten in our egalitarian age. So often devotion to the Sacred Heart, when it is permitted or fostered, is only encouraged for individuals or families. There is a real and sincere devotion that has developed around the Promises made to individuals who make the reparatory communions on the First Fridays and who make the solemn enthronement of the Sacred Heart in family homes. But this is still not the ideal requested by Our Lord Jesus Christ, who as the Master of the parts of the social body, i.e. many individuals, families, and even institutions, must evidently also be the Master of the whole human society.

    All nations, too, are the work of God and belong to Him, and hence Christ is their Master, Lord and King. The Heart of Jesus wants to reign in the very heart of nations, and in the first place those who rule and represent them, who should recognize this dominion and submit to it. This submission should be more from love than from a sense of duty, not so much because Christ has a right to demand it from rulers, as because they desire to submit to His love. The cry of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary "Behold this Heart which has so loved men that It spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself to prove to them Its love" is a call of conversion not only to men or families, but also to nations. In a certain way, it was the restoration of Christendom that was being placed within the reach of the King and nobility of France. The plan of Our Lord was to touch all nations and all social classes, beginning with France, First Daughter of the Church. Thus would the Sacred Heart be the cornerstone of a new Christendom.

Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D. and Atila Sinke Guimarães

For more details and books by both these authors, see www.traditioninaction.org.

Monday: Part Three: The Sacred Heart and the Armed Fight in Defense of the Faith



August 9-12, 2001
volume 12, no. 141
CULTIVATING CATHOLIC CULTURE
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