Today, we will be reminded of a lost devotion - wearing of the Sacred Heart Badge. Of course, it was started in France through the instruction of Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary. Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque His wish for her to order a picture of the image of His Sacred Heart for people specifically to venerate and have in their homes and also small pictures to carry with them. St. Margaret Mary always kept a Sacred Heart badge with her and inspired her novices to do the same. She made many badges and often said this practice was very pleasing to the Sacred Heart.
The popularity of the Badge increased suddenly due to a very dramatic event in the city of Marseilles in France. In the year 1720, about thirty years after the death of St. Margaret Mary, Marseilles was ravaged by the plague. About one thousand persons died each day from the disease. Fear had reached near panic proportions. The Bishop of Marseilles asked the nuns of the city to make thousands of Sacred Heart Badges similar to the kind used by St. Margaret Mary and her friends. When the Badges were ready, the Bishop led a procession to the center of the city. There he consecrated Marseilles to the Sacred Heart, and everybody present put on a Sacred Heart Badge. From that moment not one new case of the plague was reported.
The unfortunate French Revolution, spoken of in the last article, erupted in France in 1789, a worse punishment than any plague, causing tragic consequences for the whole world.
True Catholics found protection in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus during the period. Many priests, nobles, and people who resisted the bloody anti-Catholic revolution wore the Badge. Even ladies of the court, like the Princess de Lamballe, wore the Badge embroidered with precious materials over the fabric.
The simple fact of wearing the Badge became a distinctive sign of those opposed to the French Revolution.
Among the belongings of Queen Marie Antoinette, guillotined out of revolutionary hatred, was found a drawing of the Sacred Heart, with the Wound, Cross, and Crown of Thorns, and the inscription, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!"
The Chouans, heroic Catholics from Mayenne (Western France), especially from the Vendee, who resisted the impious French revolutionaries of 1789 and confronted them with energy and religious ardor, embroidered the Badge of the Sacred Heart on their clothes and banners. They shaped it as a coat of arms to reaffirm their Catholic faith and wore it as a symbolic armor for defense against enemy attacks.
Many other Catholic leaders and heroes also wore the Badge as a "spiritual armor." They fought and died in defense of Holy Mother Church like the brave peasants who fought under Andreas Hofer (1767-1810), known as the "Chouans from the Tyrol."
These men wore the Badge as spiritual protection in the battles against Napoleon's army that invaded the Tyrol.
The Cristeros in Mexico, in the first half of the 20th century, also wore the Badge. They took up arms against the anti-Christian governments that oppressed the Church in Mexico.
In Spain, the famous Carlista regiments called "requetes" likewise wore the Badge. They were famous for their religious piety and boldness on the battlefield, and their intervention was decisive for the triumph of the anti-Communist Catholics in the Civil War of 1936-1939.
More recently, similar events took place in Cuba. the Catholic Cubans who fought against the Communist regime had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When they were imprisoned and taken to the 'paredon" (shooting wall) for summary execution, they faced Fidel Castro's executioners with the cry, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long Live Christ the King!).
After Castro's Communist tyranny took over Cuba, beautiful statues of the Sacred Heart were demolished and replaced with representations of Che Guevara.
Thus, statues of the Sacred Heart, which represented His Love and forgiveness, were replaced with likenesses of a guerilla fighter whose hands were soaked in innocent Catholic blood which he had caused to flow in several Latin American countries.
APPROVAL OF THE BADGE BY THE CHURCH
In 1870 a Roman lady, wishing to know the opinion of the Holy Father Pius IX about the Badge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, presented him with one. Touched by the sight of this emblem of salvation", the Pope approved the devotion forever and said: "This, Madam, this is an inspiration from Heaven. Yes, from Heaven." After a short moment of silence, he added: "I am going to bless this Heart and want all badges made after this model to receive the same blessing, so that in the future, it will not be necessary for the blessing to be renewed by a priest. And I want Satan to be unable to cause any harm to those who wear this Badge, symbol of the adorable Heart of Jesus."
Blessed Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence to all the faithful who wear this pious emblem and pray daily one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be.
The Badge is a reminder of reparation by which we accept with love and faith our share in the sufferings of Christ. Thus we cooperate more closely with Christ in the vital work of the redemption of mankind by accepting the obligations of God's commandments, by our fidelity to the daily tasks of our state in life, by the patient acceptance of the trials, disappointments, and crosses thrust upon us each day.
Regarding devotion to His Sacred Heart, Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary:"Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out."
A beautiful prayer by Bl. Pope Pius IX:
Open Thy Sacred Heart O Jesus! Show me Its beauty and unite me with It forever. May the throbbing in all the movements of my heart, even during sleep, be a testimony of my love and tell Thee unceasingly: Yes, Lord Jesus, I adore Thee ... accept my poor little actions ... grant me the grace of repairing evil done ... so that I may praise Thee in time and bless Thee for all eternity.