Back in the winter, I pulled St. Margaret Mary Alacoque as my patron for the year. She was the promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion. In addition to promoting the Sacred Heart, she is also the patron of dying parents which is a little unnerving. I didn't know much about her or the devotion. My exploration of it hasn't been thorough. My time to read printed books is extremely limited. I read a few blogposts and thought about the concept of having a heart of flesh. I did look forward to celebrating the solemnity this year by paying special attention to the Offices of the day, but, as luck would have it, my Magnificat magazine was lost under a couch cushion for that entire week and I missed it all together. I figure I will try again next year. Thus far, the only thing I have really done is keep the idea of the Sacred Heart towards the forefront of my thoughts and notice when I see something related to it. I also added St. Margaret to my own small litany, but I call her St. Margaret of the Sacred Heart because I figure we all know who I am talking about and I don't know how to say Alacoque.
On the day my grandmother died, I sat down at work and opened my Magnificat magazine to the 18th and prayed morning prayer. In the intercessions, there was a prayer offered for the aging. Whenever any of those types of prayers come up, I always add a special intention for my grandmother. On her last morning on earth, I was prompted to offer a special intention for her. I didn't realize it until days later when I opened the magazine again to turn the pages to the appropriate day and remembered that I had in fact prayed specifically for her that morning.
In my work email, I subscribe to a daily update which offers a line or two of scripture and a related thought, usually but not always from a saint, in order to get the day off on the right foot. On the morning of the 18th, the thought for the day was:
The heart of Jesus is an abyss of love to meet our every need. -St. Margaret Mary AlacoqueI immediately thought to myself, "Hey, that's my saint for the year!" and didn't give it much more notice. There was work to do. Later in the day, I got the bad news.
After my grandmother's funeral, we went to her Baptist church for lunch. When I walked into the fellowship hall, my eyes were immediately drawn to a small freestanding cross at the side of the room. As I approached it, I incredulously saw that it had the Sacred Heart on it. There are two things that I can promise you about this cross in this location. First, the people there have no idea what the Sacred Heart is. It is possible that they have heard the words together as a phrase, but the likelihood of them being able to identify the image is quite small. Second, if they did know what it was, it absolutely would not be at that church. But there it was, waiting on me.
I brought several of my (Catholic) family members to it without prompting, and they all immediately identified it as the Sacred Heart so it wasn't just me stretching my imagination. We all had a good giggle over it.
I didn't put any of this together as possibly being connected until I was back at work this week. All of a sudden I realized that on the morning my grandmother died, I was prompted to pray for her and read a seemingly random thought from the patron of dying parents. Then in the most unlikely spot I could have imagined, there was another reminder from this same patron in the form of a stylized cross. And the nearest Catholic church to my grandmother's house? Sacred Heart.
Maybe God is watching out for me after all.