Friday, October 16, 2009


“The Vision of
St. Margret Mary Alacoque”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about St. Margret Mary Alacoque [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Margret Mary Alacoque

Readings and Commentary:

Ephesians 3:14-19

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Commentary on
Eph 3:14-19

St. Paul is addressing the Gentiles in Ephesus. “The apostle prays that those he is addressing may, like the rest of the church, deepen their understanding of God's plan of salvation in Christ. It is a plan that affects the whole universe (Ephesians 3:15) with the breadth and length and height and depth of God's love in Christ (Ephesians 3:18) or possibly the universe in all its dimensions. The apostle prays that they may perceive the redemptive love of Christ for them and be completely immersed in the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19)."
CCC: Eph 3:14 239, 2214, 2367; Eph 3:16-17 1073, 2714; Eph 3:16 1995; Eph 3:18-21 2565
Psalm 23:1b-3a, 4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow
me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Commentary on
Ps 23:1b-3a, 4, 5, 6

Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar in the entire psalter. “God's loving care for the psalmist is portrayed under the figures of a shepherd for the flock (Psalm 23:1-4) and a host's generosity toward a guest (Psalm 23:5-6). The imagery of both sections is drawn from traditions of the exodus (Isaiah 40:11; 49:10; Jeremiah 31:10).” [4] While the theme of Shepherd is mentioned in the first strophe, the psalm really speaks to the peace given to those who follow the Lord and place their trust in Him, even into the “dark valley”.

The reference in the third strophe above “You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes” “occurs in an exodus context in Psalm 78:19. As my enemies watch: my enemies see that I am God's friend and guest. Oil: a perfumed ointment made from olive oil, used especially at banquets (Psalm 104:15; Matthew 26:7; Luke 7:37, 46; John 12:2).” [4]

CCC: Ps 23:5 1293

Matthew 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Commentary on
Mt 11:25-30

Jesus has just completed a fairly scathing criticism of the people in the places he has been and performed miracles, yet many have not accepted him as the Messiah. He now concludes this section on a more joyous note as he reflects that, while the Scribes and Pharisees (“the wise and learned”) have not understood who he is, those with simple faith have accepted him freely. He then issues an invitation to all who “labor and are burdened” quoting an invitation similar to one in Ben Sirach to learn wisdom and submit to her yoke (Sirach 51:23, 26).

“This Q saying, identical with Luke 10:21-22 except for minor variations, introduces a joyous note into this section, so dominated by the theme of unbelief. While the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees, have rejected Jesus' preaching and the significance of his mighty deeds, the childlike have accepted them. Acceptance depends upon the Father's revelation, but this is granted to those who are open to receive it and refused to the arrogant. Jesus can speak of all mysteries because he is the Son and there is perfect reciprocity of knowledge between him and the Father; what has been handed over to him is revealed only to those whom he wishes.” [5]

The final verses of this section are found only in St. Matthew’s Gospel and promise salvation to those who are downtrodden or in pain.

CCC: Mt 11:25-27 2603, 2779; Mt 11:25-26 2701; Mt 11:25 153, 544, 2785; Mt 11:27 151, 240, 443, 473; Mt 11:28 1658; Mt 11:29-30 1615; Mt 11:29 459

Although it is difficult for us to consider, we must be reminded that the Church, Christ’s bride, was founded by human beings with all their faults and frailties. St. Peter was given the Keys to the Kingdom and we recall that this is the same St. Peter who denied our Savior three times the evening of his great passion. It is no wonder then that among even the best intentioned people, vowed to serving our Lord, there is petty bitterness and uncharitable impulses. These were encountered by the Saint we memorialize today. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s vocation was a gift to the Church as was her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It seemed as if the Lord’s own Passion in the Garden was relived in this frail servant of God. In addition to the humble service she laid upon herself, the very holiness she tried to emulate and which was clearly accepted by our Lord, as was evidenced numerous times through miraculous interventions, earned her the envy and in some cases, malice of her sisters in her cloister at the Visitation Sisters at Paray-le-Monial.

Still, even this injustice served to strengthen her resolve to offer herself to the mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the words of the Gospel she accepted the yoke of Christ, a yoke that guided her, even in the greatest of trials, unswervingly to the Love of Christ. Her intimate relationship with the Lord, developed through prayer and devotion, established a mystic relationship with Jesus with whom she spoke and with whose visage she walked.

Today we ask St. Margret Mary to pray for us. We ask that we may be given the grace and strength to accept the Lord’s yoke as she did and, by doing so, find a place with her in the courts of the Heavenly Kingdom.


[1] The picture is “The Vision of St. Margret Mary Alacoque” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] See NAB Footnote on Ephesians 3:14-19 
[4] See NAB Footnote on Psalm 23
[5] See NAB footnote on Matthew 11:25ff

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