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October 9th Saint Denis, Bishop and Martyr
With the martyrdom of Saint Denis and his companions celebrated as an optional memorial on October 9th, the Church has her children call to mind the immortal value of heroic suffering to the point of shedding one's blood for the Word of God. The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around 258 A.D. comes in the sixth century in the writings of Saint Gregory of Tours. Born and raised in Italy, Denis was sent as a missionary to Gaul around the year 250 A.D. along with five other bishops. Denis made his base of missionary activity on an island in the Seine River on the site which would grow into the city of Paris. For this reason, Denis is known as the first Bishop of Paris and the Apostle of France. There he was captured by the Parisians along with his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, likely his deacon and subdeacon. After a long imprisonment and several failed executions, the three martyrs were finally beheaded with a sword and their bodies were thrown into the river. Denis' body was retrieved from the Seine by his converts and was buried. The chapel that was built over his tomb grew into the abbey of Saint-Denis. Very often, Denis is depicted as he was martyred ~ headless and carrying his own mitred head in his hands.
October 16th - Saint Mary Margaret of Alacoque, Virgin
When we think about God’s love, we do not always use the word “passion.” Yet, those were the exact words Jesus used when describing His love for humanity in a private revelation to the French Visitandine nun, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, of the late 17th century.
It was during the first revelation about devotion to Jesus’ Sacred Heart, and this is how the vision began. The saint recounts:
Once being before the Blessed Sacrament and having a little more leisure than usual, I felt wholly filled with this Divine Presence, and so powerfully moved by it that I forgot myself and the place in which I was. I abandoned myself to this Divine Spirit, and yielded my heart to the power of His love. He made me rest for a long time on His divine breast, where He discovered to me the wonders of His love and the inexplicable secrets of His Sacred Heart, which He had hitherto kept hidden from me.
Then Jesus spoke to Saint Margaret Mary as she lay near to His Heart.
My Divine Heart is so passionately in love with [humanity] that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its ardent charity. It must pour them out by thy means, and manifest itself to them to enrich them with its precious treasures, which contain all the graces of which they need to be saved from perdition. This is one of the reasons why Jesus revealed Himself with His Heart outside of his body. This symbolizes how Jesus could not contain His love for us and His Heart literally burst through His chest, a symbol of His all-consuming passionate love. The revelation of Jesus’ Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary is a great reminder to us, dispelling any false images of God we may have. He is not an angry Zeus looking to destroy us, but rather a compassionate Savior, who desires our souls, hoping to fill them with His joy.