Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Paray le Monial
Sorry for delay in posts. We're back at Oscott now with a month to go before the dreaded Exams. Anyway, thought I'd say something about Paray le Monial where I also went on the Ars pilgrimage the other week.
Paray le Monial is the home of St Margaret Mary Alocoque, a nun who was apparently quite a difficult character for her community to live with, very prayerful but given to scrupulosity. She came to her Jesuit confessor, Fr. Claude de la Columbiere (also a saint), reporting apparitions of Jesus in which He told her of the love of His Sacred Heart. Claude knew that Margaret Mary was given to over-sensitivity, and to establish the credibility of her story, he asked her to ask Jesus the next time she saw Him what her greatest sin had been. When she asked Jesus, He simply said to her He could not remember - her sins had all been blotted out in sacramental Confession. When Margaret Mary told this to Claude, he knew that the apparition was real, because Margaret Mary was too scrupulous to have come up with such a reply herself. Following this, devotion to the Sacred Heart grew up, the heart by which Jesus revealed His human and divine love to a world that was suffering the effects of Jansenism, a heresy in which people refuse God's love out of a sense of their own unworth. Claude took the revelation to England, where he preached it in the streets of London and was eventually imprisoned in the Tower until the King of France demanded his release.
After visiting the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, we went to the church of St. Claude where his relics are kept (they were in England only last year). Then we had Mass in the church where St. Margaret Mary received the apparitions, a wonderful privilege. Her incorrupt body is preserved there as well, and is very beautiful. Hot on our tail was a group from the North American College who were also staying at the seminary at Ars and had come to the church in Paray to celebrate Mass after us. It was a wonderful day, and very appropriate to our time at Ars, for the Cure himself said 'the priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.' I would recommend going there not just to priests, but to everyone!