Partaking in His Fatal Sadness

Saint Margaret Mary before the Sacred Heart – from Tuam Cathedral, Ireland. Design: Joshua Clarke. Photograph courtesy Andreas F. Borchert under the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license.

The practice of praying the Holy Hour began with the words Our Lord spoke to St Margaret Mary in Paray-le-Monial, when He said:

“Every Thursday night, I shall give you a share in that fatal sadness which I allowed Myself to feel in the garden of olives … You are to get up between eleven o´clock and midnight, to keep Me company in humble prayer to My Father, exactly as I spent that night of My agony.

Lie face downwards with Me for an hour – not only to allay God´s anger by asking mercy for sinners, but also to soothe in some way the heartache I felt when My apostles deserted Me, when I had to reproach them for being unable to watch with Me even for an hour.”

When praying the Holy Hour, something occurred to me. In Our Lord’s words to St Margaret Mary, “Every Thursday night, I shall give you a share in that fatal sadness which I allowed Myself to feel”, He is asking that she feel too – that she partake in that which He allowed Himself to feel: That fatal sadness that He felt throughout his night of agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

Our Lord is most definitely displaying His Humanity, by wanting to share the depth of His pain with another.

Yet what is His pain? It is the weight of our sin, carried in the tender and merciful Heart of Our Lord.

The fatal sadness He describes is our sin.

And in these two words, our sin, we must consider the entirety of our sin throughout all time and the consequent predicament we found ourselves in because of it – lost from God.

It is “fatal”, in that it is killing us. And it a sadness so deep because we are separated from Him, from the true source of life.

So, although our Poor Lord is asking St Margaret Mary and through her, ourselves to share with Him this “fatal sadness”, he is not only asking this as one human to another, for Himself.

He is also asking us to partake in the depth of pain and sadness created by our own sin.

He is asking us to realise the tragedy of our very own predicament.

As His Heart suffers this deep pain, he as human asks us to suffer with Him, a suffering that will in turn not only honour God and all He has given us, but that will also tear open our own hearts to the suffering and tragedy of the world.

In this partaking of the “fatal sadness”, we share the cup, that it is the will of the Father to drink from.

Is this not the true meaning of the new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you?”

Of Related Interest at this Site:

Book Review: The Life of Saint Margaret Mary by Emile Bougaud

Book Review: The Autobiography of Saint Margaret Mary

British readers can also find these books in the Sacred Heart section of our Amazon UK Store here.

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  1. Edwin Shendelman
    Posted 14 March 2011 at 17:25 | Permalink

    The element of depth is so apparent in your writing, moreover it is depth of the heart, image and likeness to the Lord’s Heart. This is none other than the prayer of empathy. Great visionaries like St. Margaret Mary seem to open up to the depth of feeling that is in God. God is not principle but a Person who feels…how amazing is that. That He can be sad with Fatal Sadness over us…this should be a sign moving us into the depth of heart life. Thanks!

  2. kim
    Posted 17 March 2011 at 08:35 | Permalink

    Edwin, as always it is very nice to hear from you again.

    I am moved by and drawn to the devotions of the Sacred Heart for the very reasons that you highlight …

    These devotions empathise the Personhood of God, that God has a human heart.

    A human heart that as you say “feels” and feels beyond our own limited capacities, the full extent of our tragedy, our sin. I have often imagined how in pain is Our Lord’s Heart each time we sin, each time we stray away from Him.

    And yet he continues to shower us with mercy and love as he is whipped and torn by our lack of feeling.

    Yes these devotions to the Sacred Heart I believe allow us to not only acknowledge the Person who is God – the importance of which you point out – but also the depth with which He feels and that into this image and likeness we may grow.

    That our poor little hearts may feel a depth of the ‘fatal sadness’ …

  3. Posted 22 March 2011 at 11:28 | Permalink

    Your honesty is beautiful.

    • kim
      Posted 30 March 2011 at 16:24 | Permalink

      PAS – thank you so much.

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