For more than 150 years and all over the world, the Honor Guard of the Sacred Heart takes turns throughout the day and night to offer an hour to Jesus.
Paray-le-Monial, 1675. In the humble chapel of the Convent of the Visitation, a young nun adores the Blessed Sacrament. Hidden in the consecrated bread, it is with Christ that she converses, in the silence of prayer. “Here is this Heart which loved men so much that it spared nothing to show them its love,” our Lord whispers to it; and instead of recognition, I receive from most only ingratitude, indifference and even contempt in this sacrament of love.” He then entrusted him with the mission of promoting the worship of his divine heart:
I want to form around my Heart a crown of twelve stars composed of my most dear and faithful servants.
It was only two centuries later, in 1862, on the eve of the beatification of Marguerite-Marie Alacoque , that Sister Marie du Sacré-Cœur Bernaud, Visitandine, wondered: was this petition answered? While she and her sisters consecrated their convent in Bourg-en-Bresse to the Sacred Heart, a celestial vision revealed to her what became the dial of the Guard of Honor: the heart of Jesus, in the center , from which leave the twelve hours of the day.
“With this dial, Jesus makes us understand that it is in the little ordinary things of daily life that He is most forgotten and therefore most offended,” explains Geneviève Vignes, head of the Garde d ’ Honor . “It is precisely to respond to this lack of love that each person who registers for the Guard of Honor chooses a time of the day, the same every day, to offer it to him. Thus, the one who commits decides to do everything out of love during that hour, without changing anything in his daily activities but only sanctifying it. » And the person in charge continued: “Put end to end, these hours form the close guard of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, like the very first Guard of Honor, that which formed the Virgin Mary, Saint John and Mary -Madeleine at the foot of the cross”.
Very quickly, the initiative, which depends on Rome and the lay dicastery, wins hearts in an impressive missionary momentum which spreads the Guard of Honor across the oceans. “The success was resounding,” continues Geneviève Vignes. “Don Bosco, for example, wanted his educators and the children entrusted to them to become involved in the various Salesian missions. Eight popes have even joined the Guard since its creation, the last being Benedict XVI . We discovered that Léonie Martin was also an honor guard, because she mentioned it in one of her letters. We can therefore legitimately assume that the entire Martin family had also registered on the dial. Saint Charles de Foucauld also mentions it in a letter to Father Crozier. In our registers, we found Edward Poppe, Saint Pius X, Blessed Marie-Joseph Cassant, beatified by John Paul II , Popes Leo XIII, Benedict XV, Pius IX, Pius Since then, testimonies have abounded.
Honor guard of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“I think of the homeschooling mother of nine who chose lunchtime. To demonstrate the special attention given to Jesus at that moment, she added a place setting to the table and peace returned to her home,” she adds. “It is an hour of grace: I also remember this father who had chosen five o’clock, early in the morning, to enter into communion with the suffering Christ and his own son, who died at that hour a few years earlier” . “Nothing by force, everything by love”, repeated Saint Francis de Sales with these words which could in turn form the motto of this guard of love. “It’s overwhelming, this humble petition from Christ to his Church,” concludes Geneviève Vignes. “We are not capable of the extraordinary: Jesus begging for love, asking for just an hour, never ceases to move me. »