Paray le Monial, France
“My Heart wants to reign in his palace, to be painted on his banners, engraved on his coat of arms, to make them victorious so he will triumph over all the enemies of the Church.”
One-hundred, fifty-eight years later, in 1689, Our Lord appeared to Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun residing in a convent in Paray-le-Monial, France, a town several hundred miles from Paris.
He appeared to her many times and during one of those visits He told her that for those who receive the Eucharist [Holy Communion] on nine consecutive First Fridays: “I promise you, in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that Its all-powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they will not die under My displeasure nor without receiving the Sacraments, My Divine Heart becoming their assured refuge at that last hour.”
In 1689, Sr. Margaret Mary received a message from Christ in the Chapel of the Visitation. It was for King Louis XIV and it contained four very specific requests. The king was to:
1) ”…engrave the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the royal flags.
2) “…build a temple in His honor where He would receive the homage of the court.
3) “…make his consecration to the Sacred Heart
4) “…pledge his authority before the Holy See to obtain a Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.“
Do you remember the supernatural sign Emperor Constantine saw above the sun before the famous battle at the Milvian Bridge? He immediately painted that sign on all his banners and was victorious. Sadly, despite her best efforts to advise Louis XIV, nothing was achieved. It is unknown whether the king ignored it out-of-hand or, as is quite possible, it never even came to his attention.
Unfortunately, from that time on, the kingdom of Louis XIV was plagued with difficulties and defeats. Political and national disasters, in addition to ongoing religious conflicts, saw to it that this elegant eldest daughter of the Church would never again bask in her previous glory. Since that time, France and England have remained enemies over a period of hundreds of years.
On July 14, 1789, exactly one century after ignoring the requests of Christ, the celebrated Storming of the Bastille occurred, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. Its infamous slogan Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) became the national motto of France. It had also become a nation without God!
Those who were not dispatched to the guillotine faced a major economic crisis, ironically due in part to its financial agreement to assist the colonists in America in their fight against England. Benjamin Franklin had negotiated a loan for between seven to eleven million dollars to finance the War of Independence in 1776.
This later became known as the American Revolution. Unfortunately America completely reneged on the loan and, due in part to this added burden, France eventually had to declare bankruptcy. These events became a major factor for the justification of the French Revolution which began to sweep through France in 1789.
Three years later, in 1792 – one-hundred and three years after Christ first requested those four specific favors from Louis XIV – his great-great-great grandson, Louis XVI, made that consecration. He promised to fulfill the other three requests as soon as he was able.
In 1919, two-hundred and thirty years after Christ requested Louis XIV to build the temple, it was finally completed. Known as the Sacré Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart), this white-domed temple was erected on the famous Montmartre (mountain of the martyr) in Paris, which owes its name to the martyrdom of St. Denis, the bishop of Paris and patron saint of France.
In March, 1824, Leo XII pronounced Sr. Margaret Mary Venerable and on September 18, 1864, Pius IX declared her Blessed. When her tomb was canonically opened in July, 1830, two instantaneous cures took place. She was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920. Her body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray-le-Monial. Many favors have been obtained by pilgrims attracted there from all parts of the world. Her feast day is celebrated on October 17.
One-hundred and forty-one years after Christ appeared to St. Margaret Mary, a time which gave the Church the Feast of the Sacred Heart and impetus to the Devotion of the Nine First Fridays, the heavenly Father entrusted a mission to His most beloved daughter. In a nondescript convent in Paris, France, Our Lady began the countdown for the salvation of the world.
Starting with her most notable appearance in France in 1830, until the mid-twentieth century – a time which led up to the Second World War – Our Lady was to appear in many places, warning of the turbulent times that lay ahead for her children if they continued to stray further from God’s Commandments and Statutes. Do we fully comprehend what she is so ardently advising us? Will we accomplish that which she says we must do?