Yesterday was the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and revealed to her how He desired souls to foster devotion to His Sacred Heart:
My Divine Heart is so passionately in love with men that it can no longer contain within Itself the flames of its ardent charity. It must pour them out by thy means, and manifest itself to them to enrich them with its precious treasures, which contain all the graces of which they need to be saved from perdition. I have chosen you as an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance to accomplish so great a design, so that all may be done by Me.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré standing on a globe with rays of light streaming from her fingers, and in an oval frame inscribed with the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” The whole vision “turned” showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter “M” entwined with a Cross, and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded with thorns, the latter pierced with a sword. 12 stars circled this oval frame. Mary told her to strike a medal in this form — a medal now known as the “Miraculous Medal” and that all who wore it properly after having it blessed would receive graces. The wearing of the Miraculous Medal has become one of the most common devotions to the Immaculate Heart.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart became even more popular after Mary appeared to three young shepherd children (Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco) at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 when she asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart to prevent the spread of “the errors of Russia”. Eight years later, in 1925, Mary appeared to Lucia (who’d since become a nun) and requested reparations for the various ways in which her Immaculate Heart was offended — such as attacks against her Immaculate Conception, virginity and divine maternity, and for those who teach their children contempt of Mary or who insult her by desecrating her images.
To make these reparations, she asked that we do 5 things, all with the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart:
- recite at least Five Decades of the Rosary every day
- wear the Brown scapular
- offer our daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice (i.e. make the Morning Offering)
- make Five First Saturdays of Reparation to Her Immaculate Heart (you can read my previous blog post that explains the Five First Saturdays and tells more about the Immaculate Heart of Mary here).
- the Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, must consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.