The Sacred Heart of Mont Martres
Fr. Paul P. Pang O.F.M.
In the north of the city of Paris there is a hill. In fact it is quite high to be called a hill. In fact it is the highest point of Paris. So the Parisiens call it Mont Martres, which means the Mountain of the Martyrs. You can see it from afar. On top of it there is one of the most beautiful basilicas of the world: the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which in French is Sacre’ Coeur. It was built between 1875 and 1919. Not only the Parisiens, but also the pilgrims, all of them, know where it is and go up to the hill to see it, or rather to pray in it. From many angles of the Basilica you can also enjoy the breath-taking views of the city of Paris which is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
There is a moving story about this Basilica. During the Second World War, Paris was bombarded in many areas, just as Rome was. Through the inspiration and the courage of some, many Parisiens went to the Basilica to pray, not so much for the personal safety of individuals, rather for the protection of the Basilica. At the height of the bombardments some bombs hit the Basilica, but did not explode, thus saving the Basilica from destruction, even though the nearby areas were heavily damaged. The Parisiens were naturally most grateful to God for this miraculous protection. Immediately after the War hundreds and hundreds of faithful started to come to pray in the Basilica. Some would stay there for a long time to pray and to meditate. In the end the archdiocesan authorities approved the request of the faithful to have the Blessed Sacrament exposed for adoration 24 hours a day.
You need to be there to feel the sacredness of the Sanctuary. When you gaze at the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus you cannot but feel the infinite kindness, the burning love of Jesus exuding from His Sacred Heart. We pilgrim clergy are more fortunate. We can concelebrate the daily mid-day Eucharist and find ourselves surrounded by the fervor of the multitude of the genuine devotees of this loving and saving Heart.
We are now in the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are even more fortunate because we have the Sacred Heart as our Patron. We must do everything possible during this month to demonstrate our devotion to this Sacred Heart. We must not let one single day pass without saying our prayers to this Heart of love and meditating on Its infinite mercy. It will do us a lot of good to recite daily the twelve Promises made by Jesus to St. Mary Margaret of Alacoque. If we can fulfill the conditions set by the Promises, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Holy Communion on the consecutive nine First Fridays of the month, it is almost impossible to lose our souls. We are almost certain to go to heaven when we die because Jesus promised us not to allow us to die in mortal sin.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus fill us with His infinite love and tenderness! May we also repay His love with our ardent love and genuine devotion!