Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, was a French Roman Catholic nun and mystic, whom Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to between 1673-1675. During these eighteen months, the Lord Jesus revealed twelve promises to St. Margaret Mary for those who would respond to the pleading of His Heart and make an effort to return His love. This was the beginning of a new devotion in the Church and one in which we know of today as the Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On a cold snowy November day in rural Pennsylvania, the last thing I would have ever expected was an intimate encounter with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, while on a five-day retreat with about 80 other people, mostly strangers, I decided to duck away into a beautifully intimate Eucharistic Adoration chapel. A magnificent gold tabernacle stood in the center with a kneeler directly in front and two simple wooden chairs off to the side. The domed ceiling was adorned with sparkling mosaic tiles that resembled the most elegant of night skies. As I knelt before the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, preoccupied with worldly concerns and with a very restless and exhausted heart, I quickly began to rattle off my prayer intentions. (I sometimes forget that it’s called Adoration for a reason and that I’m there to adore Him and not just beg for my prayers to be answered!)
In my litany of intentions, I vividly recall asking for the intercession of our beloved little Christina Dangond, whom earlier that year went home to Heaven. I asked for Christina’s intercession to help me trust Jesus the way she always did, especially during her inspirational battle with cancer. My prayer was simple yet seemed so complex. It even caused me to question myself, “How come at my age I was still struggling to fully trust God and His plan for my life?” Mere seconds passed before the most incredible and indescribable peace entered my heart and permeated my very soul. In an instant, goosebumps ran up and down my arms and legs and tears began to pour from my eyes.
As I knelt there quietly weeping before the Lord, much like the snow that was quietly falling outside the window, I was utterly astounded that in that very still and quiet moment everything that had been consuming my mind and heart simply and utterly melted away only to be replaced with a peace and love beyond all understanding.
All of my worries, fears, questions and concerns were swiftly replaced with the knowledge that not only did my God truly know me, but He also truly loves me! Words will never suffice to explain this encounter, so I invite and encourage each of you to recall the words of today’s Gospel, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Let us daily lift our hearts and souls to our Lord, asking for the intercession of sweet little Christina, who no doubt kneels in perpetual adoration before our Lord and Savior. I can assure you with all certainty that when we humbly come before the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, He will, perhaps in an instant or perhaps over a period of months or years, ever so gently, but ever so boldly, break through the walls that often surround our wounded hearts and He will truly give them rest. Today, on this beautiful Solemnity, let us entrust our hearts to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as together we pray, “Jesus, I trust in You!!”
Colleen M. Donohoe grew up as a cradle Catholic attending Catholic elementary and high school just North of Boston! Among her many role models in the faith are her beloved parents who this year celebrate 64 years of marriage! Colleen’s older brother, Stephen Donohoe, is an Archdiocesan priest serving as Pastor at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood, MA. Colleen answered God’s call to serve the Church in a variety of ways over the past 23 years but primarily in service to God as an educator in many Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. After spending many years in the classroom as a theology teacher and campus minister, she currently serves as the Associate Superintendent of Catholic Identity and Respect Life Educator for the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Schools Office. In addition, Colleen is the Boston area scheduling coordinator for international chastity and theology of the body. Colleen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Salem State College and a Master of Arts Degree in Theology and Ministry from St. John’s Seminary Theological Institute in Boston.