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The Love of the Sacred Heart



St. Mechtilde

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All lovers of the Sacred Heart were delighted to see in the year of grace 1920 the long wished for canonization of Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, whom God raised up in recent centuries to revive the fire of devotion to the divine Heart of our Lord, which had well-nigh been extinguished by the frost and drought of the Jansenist heresy. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is too often spoken of and thought of as a “modern” devotion, and in one sense it is such. The life-work of St. Margaret Mary has not only given that sweetest of devotions a much greater vogue and a deeper intensity throughout the world, but it has even in our own times led to still further and wider developments, such as the beautiful and providential practice, whose world-wide spread we owe to the blessing and encouragement of Pope Saint Pius X-I mean the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home, which, thank God, is becoming yearly more popular in our own country. But the present book will show that in another sense the devotion is by no means “modern.” As will be seen, the first part consists of copious translations from the marvelous mystical revelations of a lover of the Sacred Heart of a much earlier century, the Benedictine nun St. Mechtilde (1241-1298), whose enraptured utterances surpass in some respects those of her better known friend and disciple the great St. Gertrude, and whose significance as the type of mystic theology has been immortalized by Dante in his mighty epic. It will not fail to be observed how extraordinarily similar a great deal of the inspired language and profound imagery of the Saint of the thirteenth century is to that of the one who was canonized last year; although I am not aware that there is evidence of Margaret Mary having been a student of the works of her illustrious predecessor. It is surely both significant and instructive that our divine Lord deigned to make known the mysteries and treasures of the unfathomable abyss of His divine Love in a manner so similar, often identical, to two of His chosen spouses, at an interval of several centuries. The pious translator of the following treatises, however, very truly remarks that in the revelations of the earlier of these Saints, the mystic doctrines of the Sacred Heart are presented more especially for the guidance and edification of the chosen few, especially of the inmates of the cloister, called to the more hidden life. On the other hand, the cult of the Sacred Heart in these last three centuries has become, and is becoming daily more and more, the common property of all the children of the Church, of the laity as well as of the clergy and the religious, of the working man and woman as well as of the theologian, and even of the little children as well as of Christians of mature years. And that recent form of it to which I have alluded above -the Enthronement in the home, whether the palace or the cottage-has further widened it to become the property and the privilege not merely of the individual soul, but of the whole Christian family. May every reader of these pages pray for her who in the midst of grave sickness and pain during her last illness compiled them out of her abounding love to the Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord.