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The King-Martyr Louis XVI of France  - I

The Vow King Louis XVI Made in Prison

Gregory Johnson
In the year 1689, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque told King Louis XIV that Our Lord had commanded that he should consecrate France to His Sacred Heart. The consecration was never made, and 100 years later, the French Revolution exploded.

In 1791, King Louis XVI, while living under house arrest at the Tuileries Palace, made a solemn promise that he would perform this Consecration should he be restored to his former power. He did this under the guidance of the Eudist priest and confessor Abbé Hébert, who had refused to take the oath to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. It is interesting that he also expresses his contrition for his tolerance and leniency in granting liberty to the revolutionaries.

The Vow was discovered sealed in the wall of the King’s room when the Palace was being torn down almost a century later in 1871. Here are the words of the King’s solemn Vow, written and signed in his hand

Louis xvi

The King wrote his Vow while under house arrest at the Tulleries

“Well dost Thou see, O my God, the great sadness that oppresses my heart, the grief that wounds it and the depth of the abyss into which I have been cast. I am assailed by countless evils from all sides. To the oppression of my soul, the horrible tragedies that have befallen me and my family are added to those that cover the whole face of the Kingdom.

The cries of all the misfortunate ones, the moaning of our oppressed religion resounds in my ears, and an inner voice suggests to me that perhaps Thy justice holds me accountable for all these calamities because, in the days of my power, I did not repress their main causes, which are the people’s licentiousness and the spirit of irreligion, and because I served the weapons of heresy, now triumphant, by favoring the laws that doubled its forces and gave it the audacity to dare everything.

I will not have the temerity, O my God, to justify myself before Thee. But Thou knowest that my heart was always subject to Fath and Morals. My faults are the fruit of my weakness and thus seem worthy of Thy great mercy.

Thou didst forgive King David, who caused Thy enemies to blaspheme Thee, and King Manassès, who had led his people into the idolatry. Disarmed by their penitence, Thou didst restore one and then the other on the throne of Judah, and make them reign with peace and glory. Wouldst Thou, then, be inexorable today toward a son of St. Louis, who takes these penitent Kings for models and who, following their example, wishes to repair his faults and to become King according to Thy Heart?

King David

He begged God in the name of King David for mercy & restoration to the throne

O Jesus Christ! Divine Redeemer of all our iniquities, today I come to find relief for my soul in Thy Adorable Heart. I call to my aid the tender Heart of Mary, my August Protectress and Mother, and the assistance of St. Louis, my advocate and the most illustrious of my ancestors. O adorable Heart, open Thyself, by the most pure hands of my powerful intercessors; receive with kindness the desires that confidence inspires in me and that I offer Thee as the humble expression of my sentiments should I, as a consequence of the infinite goodness of God, recover my liberty, my crown and my royal power. Thus do I solemnly promise:

1. To revoke at once all the laws that will be indicated to me, either by the Pope or by a Council or by four of the most learned and virtuous Bishops of my Kingdom, as being contrary to the purity and the integrity of the Faith, and contrary to the discipline and the special jurisdiction of the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church; and in particular to revoke the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

2. To take, within a year, in union with the Pope and the Bishops of my Kingdom, all the necessary measures to establish, in accordance with canonical forms, a solemn feast in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which will be celebrated in perpetuity in all France on the first Friday after the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christ, and always followed by a general procession. This feast will be celebrated in reparation for the outrages and desecrations perpetrated in our holy churches by the schismatics, the heretics and the bad Christians in these times of such great turmoil.

king louis xvi

The King nobly bore the mockery & scorn of the revolutionaries

3. To go myself in person on a Sunday or a Holyday, within three months of the day of my deliverance, to the Church of Notre Dame of Paris, or to any other principal church in the place where I will be at that time, and to pronounce a solemn Act of Consecration of my person, my family and my Kingdom to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This I will do before the main altar after the Offertory of the Mass and through the hands of the priest, promising to give to all my subjects an example of the worship and the devotion which are due to that Adorable Heart.

4. To erect and adorn in the church that I will choose, within a year of my release and at my own expense, a chapel or an altar that will be dedicated to the Sacred Heart, which will stand as a lasting monument of my recognition and my limitless confidence in the infinite merits and inexhaustible treasures of grace that this Divine Heart contains.

5. Finally, to renew every year, wherever I might be on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Act of Consecration stated in the third article, and to participate in the general procession that will follow the Mass of this day.

Today I cannot pronounce this pact except in secret, but I would sign it with my own blood if necessary; and the most beautiful day of my life will be that when I will be able to proclaim it aloud in the Temple.

O Adorable Heart of my Savior, may my right hand be shriveled and cursed should I ignore Thy benefits and these my promises, and should I ever cease to love Thee and to place all my trust and comfort in Thee. Amen.”

Louis XVI, King of France.


A promise to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart


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Posted November 26. 2024

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