----The Roman Missal
Feast of the Sacred Heart [Psalm 32:11,19]
LETTERS OF ST. MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE
from the French of the revised Gauthey edition of 1920
Her Brother, the Parish Priest at Bois-Sainte-Marie
Since you wish it, dearest brother, I shall not let slip this fine opportunity of giving myself the pleasure of doing something that will please you. You say you are relying upon this frail reed for your salvation. How sorry I should be, indeed, if that were true! You would be exposing yourself to the danger of losing your soul, seeing that no one, I think, has more cause for fear for her own than I have, so wicked and unfaithful to God do I see myself. Both of us must work unceasingly for our salvation. For, as you know, the crown of glory is given only to the victor who perseveres to the end. I pray our divine Master that we may be numbered among these.
You say nothing about the foundation of which my brother spoke to me. You have no idea how much pleasure you give me by being so zealous for the glory of the Sacred Heart of our Divine Savior. That way lies, I think, one of the shortest roads to our sanctification. I am as eager for yours as for my own, you may be sure. But, dear brother, we must do ourselves violence if we are to arrive at the perfection God asks of us. That is no small degree of perfection, for He wishes to make a Saint of you. Yes, He wishes to make a Saint of you if only you are willing to cooperate with His plans and follow the lights He gives you. I am confident He will not refuse you the graces necessary for that. Do not think that working for the souls confided to your care will be a hindrance to sanctifying your own. Rather it is by this means that you will induce His goodness to give you all the greater help so that you can work for that with less danger. So watch carefully over your little flock. Be a kind father to them, providing for all their spiritual needs. Most of all, be sure that your life is for them an example of virtue and an odor of sweetness. Then the Lord will shower His blessings on you. Do not be interested in nor attached to the things of earth. Keep your heart as free from them as you possibly can. There must be no human respect either where there is question of God's glory. Be gentle and patient towards all but especially towards the poor, so as to inspire confidence in each one. Then they will come to you in their needs. Be everybody's friend and have no enemies in so far as that is possible in God.
But above all else, dear brother, keep your soul always free from every sin, and flee from every occasion of sin. Excuse the liberty I take in speaking to you this way. You must be convinced that this comes from a heart that cherishes you tenderly in that of Our Lord. He makes me feel as much joy at your progress in His holy love as at my own. M y consolation shall be complete when I learn that you omit nothing whatever that is conducive to your progress in perfection. This is my wish . . . .
To Father Croiset
REVEREND FATHER, I just received your letter before the Blessed Sacrament in the presence of my adorable Master. On reading it there I was very consoled as much at seeing your wishes fulfilled as at learning of the great graces and mercies my Divine Savior pours with such profusion into your soul. I thanked Him for them with all the fervor and affection of which I am capable in His lovable Heart. I heard two Masses for your intention and blessed Him a thousand times for having made you understand your sufferings so well, His aim in sending them, and the way you ought to use them. There seems to be nothing left for me to say to you on this head except to urge you to cooperate faithfully, as, thanks be to God, you do.
I really think the aim of the enemy in all the trouble he is causing you is to discourage you, diminish your ardent and pure love of God and that great confidence which is giving you such strong support and drawing down upon you so many graces. In this way he will get you to give up your holy undertaking for the glory of God Who, through His infinite mercy, has turned all these attacks to His greater glory, your sanctification, and the confusion of the enemy. Perhaps, though, the devil will not take defeat, and will launch against you still greater attacks. But I trust the adorable Heart of Jesus will always render you victorious.
At last you are a priest, and have the honor every day of offering in sacrifice my adorable Savior to His eternal Father. What a joy and consolation for me that I am able to do the same every day through your mediation! How happy I am at the thought that you are enjoying this incomparable privilege! Profit by it, and make sure that it is always a source of new graces to you. I feel more indebted to His infinite goodness for these than if He had given them to me, because I hope you will make better use of them than I would. I do not know how sufficiently to express my gratitude for the great, very great, acts of charity you have done me and promise to do. I should never have dared hope so much. M y Sovereign, who knows my extreme need, has inspired you to do them. He is my sole strength and support in the various states of suffering in which I have continually to bear up. Sometimes they are so terrible that I would succumb a thousand times over were it not for the support of which I speak, namely, the Heart of my lovable Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Apart from Him I have no pleasure, no joy, no consolation in this life. I tell you in confidence I can no longer doubt of the effect of those words my Divine Master spoke to me in the beginning, when He first taught me to know His lovable Heart. He then taught His unworthy slave that He Himself wanted to make her life entirely conformed to that of the God-Man, to make it a true replica of Jesus poor, humiliated, despised, and suffering, and so destitute of all support that often I cry out wIth Him on the cross: "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me!"
Since I am not permitted to speak of my sufferings but only to suffer in silence, I shall say nothing about them except that I find in them some of the same traits that you say in your letter you find in yours. In that letter you ask me what I am going to do for you in return for all the kindness and charity you have shown me. I answer that I cannot do anything. On reading your letter I was amazed to see that you want to practice so much charity towards so miserable and unworthy a creature. If I am not mistaken, this Sovereign of my soul gave me to understand that He will return all abundantly, nay, profusely, and that He will receive as gifts made to Himself all these favors you are doing me. First He will enrich you more than if you had done them for yourself, and then He will dispose of the rest as He pleases.
Why do you say you ask too many Communions of me? I can truthfully say that I would offer for you all those I have the pleasure of receiving if I were able to receive and dispose of them according to my ardent desires. But in our community there must be nothing extraordinary except the love of the cross. We usually receive Holy Communion only twice a week, on Sundays and Thursdays, and I am not allowed more except on the first Friday of the month. These, therefore, are all I can offer for your intention. Outside of those times I communicate only through love and through the cross of this only Love of my soul, Who, in some inexplicable way, unites me with Himself by these means.
You give me great pleasure by telling me of the great progress our beloved devotion is making. For we were told that, because of Quietism and the errors of Molinos,  all new devotions were going to be forbidden and no more approved. Accordingly, this devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord would be suppressed just like that of the Holy Infancy, which has been sent to Rome for examination. But I am not worried about it, since I am only seeking the accomplishment of my Sovereign's good pleasure. Should He undertake to destroy what He has begun, I shall go along with Him. I shall say nothing of the pain I feel, well knowing that He is powerful enough to maintain, follow through, and complete what He Himself has begun. For that end He will make use even of all the contradictions and opposition of those who are against Him. Such things will but serve to lay a more solid foundation for the devotion. It is His work, and I resign myself to whatever He wants to do with it.
As for what you ask, I have already told you that, if it can be done without your revealing my identity in any way, I give my consent. But I do not want to appear to have any part in it, assuring you that, as far as I can see, my God does not wish this sacrifice of me. For if I knew that He wanted it, I should not hesitate for a moment to make it.
If you act otherwise, you will only hinder what you are trying to promote, because I know that my Sovereign does not want to make use of so vile and miserable an instrument for the accomplishment of so grand a design. This work is going to be so efficacious for the salvation of souls that, if I could explain it to you as I think He has given me to understand it, you would redouble your zeal for this lovable devotion. Should He judge you worthy of suffering something for this project, I would consider you fortunate and rejoice, even as I do when He gives me the satisfaction of suffering something.
As for discerning the spirit which is the source of what I am now telling you and what I have told you before touching this devotion as well as other things, I shall be pleased if you tell me clearly what you think. For I am always very afraid I am being deceived without my being able to undeceive myself, no matter how hard I try. For this spirit that leads me has taken such complete control of my body and soul that he seems to think and act in me more than I do myself. No matter how much resistance I put up I cannot stop him. I always have to do as he wishes. So form your judgment of the matter, for I feel that I am attached only to the Sovereign of my soul and not at all to His favors, however great they may be in my regard. He gives them to me and takes them away as He pleases. That does not cause me any pain. All my pleasure consists solely in His being satisfied.
It would take too long to explain to you the effects of His goodness and the way He has guided me. But I think I have explained that and the excessive liberality of His loving Heart sufficiently to make you understand the possible delusion. I beg you by all the love you bear my Lord Jesus Christ not to fail to speak out after you have secretly examined everything with those you mention. For I want to remain unknown, and for that reason you must not reveal my identity to any of your Fathers coming to this town.
You will greatly console me by telling me that this holy person is working zealously. For he is one of the souls chosen to give great glory to God in this way.
I am. glad you have spread this devotion to Malta. Spread it as much as He enables you to. As for myself, He has furnished me with an occasion of spreading it to Quebec. Thus I hope this Divine Heart will become known and loved in every corner of the world.
With regard to what you tell me of these young students who want to give themselves to God, far be it from a miserable sinner like myself to have the temerity of making known the will of God where a vocation is concerned or in anything else. Please do not expect or ask that of me. Should my great pride ever lead me to do so, consider it only deceit and delusion. But I shall not fail to ask Our Lord to make His will known to them and to give them the graces necessary to carry it out courageously, without paying too much attention to their difficulties. For He Who calls them will not fail them. He is powerful enough to carryon His work. All they have to do is trust in Him.
Neither shall I fail to offer Holy Communion for their intentions. Also for that good Father, your friend, who, I think, is doing himself a great injury by disputing his heart with Him Who created it for His love. He has a great desire to possess it absolutely and become master of it, and to abundantly impart His graces to it. But it is not for me to say all Our Lord desires of him. I will ask Him in His goodness to make these things known to him and to give him the courage to carry them out. It seems to me that he would do well to consecrate himself to the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ and to follow faithfully Its holy inspirations: faithfully and bravely and constantly, completely ignoring and despising everything that stands in the way of his making himself a great Saint.
I think you ought to pay no attention to the difficulty you feel in hearing confessions. If you bravely persevere, that will greatly increase your merit. God will be much glorified, too, and give you because of this a patient charity towards repentant sinners.
to hear that you plan on making your book as perfect as you possibly
It would be better to put more time in on it, for nothing is urging you
on except the love of my adorable Savior. Do not forget the litany of
Heart of the Blessed Virgin, our good Mother.
You say nothing any more about the indulgences you had planned to ask for. I am afraid you have forgotten about them.
We have been told that the Archbishop of Vienne has approved this devotion. But do not forget, I beg you once more, that I am not to appear in your book nor be made known under any pretext whatsoever. If I could only impress upon you how much I suffer when people give me to understand that they think I have something to do with this devotion. It seems to me that everybody is going to rise up against it because of me.
I do not know why, but when a speaker gives a sermon about the devotion in my presence I seem the whole time to be plunged into a purgatory made up of every kind of suffering. I then undergo a martyrdom I could not bear unless the power of Him Who makes me suffer sustained me.
No, we have not yet changed superiors, So I am taking advantage of the good will of the present one to write to you. If the new superior does not like my writing to you, I shall not answer your letters any more. At all events, you must take everything for the love of the Sacred Heart.
Mary was conceived without sin.
60. Miguel de Molinos [1640-1696], a Spanish priest, was the author of a system of spirituality called Quietism. "He taught interior annihilation as the means of obtaining purity of soul, perfect contemplation, and peace, and the licitness of impurity, as only the sensual man, instigated by the demon, is concerned. His teaching was condemned by a Bull of Innocent XI, 1687, and his works prohibited." In France, the celebrated Madame Guyon adopted some of his ideas. Bishop Fénelon supported her. "After a long and learned controversy Bishop Bossuet caused the true doctrine to triumph. The wonderful humility and spirit of submission with which Bishop Fénelon accepted the condemnation of his book, An Explanation of the Maxims of the Saints, in 1699, is one of the great edifying events in religious history. This two-fold condemnation of Quietism naturally made the Church cautious and caused many learned and influential people to look askance at a new devotion like devotion to the Sacred Heart.