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Sacred Heart

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Teaching the Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Part VI


Editors: Thomas Diehl, S.J. and John Hardon, S. J.

The theme of the Sacred Heart can be adapted to almost any form of dramatic presentation. It has all the elements that make for aesthetic appeal and strong imagery, and a certain touch of simplicity that even adult “children” can appreciate. This presumes, however, that the teacher has mastered the idea that the whole gamut of Christ’s life on earth---mortal and risen, mystical and Eucharistic---belongs to the Sacred Heart devotion.

One feature especially commends it for dramatic purposes, namely, the presence of conflict which is intrinsic to the mystery of Christ; the conflict between Himself and the forces of evil, as described in the New Testament and as evident in the Church’s history down to the present day. Conflict, we are told, is the essence of good drama.

Properly understood, devotion to the Sacred Heart comprehends all the advances that the love of God has made to win the hearts of men to His loving service. And conversely it implies the rejection of this love by those who deliberately abuse their God-given freedom. Keeping these two foci in mind, the love of God in Christ Jesus and the ingratitude in human souls, a great variety of presentations is possible.

The four sequences here given are samples in each of four dramatic areas: the static tableaux in which words are spoken but the figures do not move, the unseen actors whose voices only can be heard, the choral readings, and a pictorial biography of St. Margaret Mary.

Since they are only samples, they can be adjusted to different contexts. Instead of using the Promises for the tableaux, the invocations of the Litany of the Sacred Heart, the morning offering, or familiar scenes from the life of Blessed Claude de la Colombière can be visualized. Choral readings and pictorial biographies are equally changeable. Above all the life of Christ should be recognized as perfectly suited to teaching the devotion to the Sacred Heart from its sources in the gospel narrative. As nothing else, this will convince the students that our religion is not primarily a collection of precepts or external practices but dedication to the divine person of Jesus Christ.

Tableaux on the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart

The following tableaux, easy to stage, are adaptable to any group. They have been used with great success by school children, college students, and adult groups. Variety can be achieved in various ways; for example, by having a voice from backstage or a recitation choir takes some of the part assigned to the reader.

Stage directions are given for all of the tableaux. The most effective lighting is achieved by the exclusive use of spots. Soft music accompanies some of the reading. Music also while scenes are changed if there is no audience singing at the time.

Cast: Fifteen or more.

Time: Fifty to sixty minutes.

Announcer (someone other than the Reader): Explains in an informal way the nature and purpose of the program. He should ask that there be no applause, and that the audience participate by joining in the singing of the hymns.

He announces the first solo as our approach to the Sacred Heart through Mary.

Solo: “Ave Maria.”

Announcer: Announces the first hymn as our prayer to the Holy Spirit for help in this project.

Audience: Song: “Come Holy Ghost.”

House lights out. Curtain remains closed. Reader stands in a convenient spot at one side of the stage in front of the curtain, or next to the piano.

Reader: Devotion to the Sacred Heart is a devotion that was promoted by our Lord Himself when He appeared to St. Margaret Mary in her convent chapel in Paray-le- Monial and showed her in a series of wonderful visions the riches of the love of His Sacred Heart. Devotion to the Sacred Heart reminds us of the astounding fact that Jesus Christ loves each of us and the entire world with an intense, burning love. Devotion to the Sacred Heart reminds us that this love of Christ has been rejected by the world at large, and, to a greater or lesser extent, by each one of us in particular. And devotion to the Sacred Heart invites, encourages, urges us to make up to the Savior for this rejection of His love by giving to Him our own souls through consecration, and by bringing other souls to Him through reparation. My first and most important act of devotion to the Sacred Heart is my firm determination with His grace to lead a sinless life. Next come all the special acts of devotion that He has requested and that my love will suggest: the morning offering, Communions of Reparation every First Friday, attendance at Holy Hour, the honoring of His image, wearing the Sacred Heart badge.

Pius XI once said that of all the manifestations of His love that our Lord has given us, none is more outstanding than this gift to us of devotion to the Sacred Heart (Miserentissimus redemptor). This is high praise! Perhaps we will be helped to understand why the holy father praised devotion to the Sacred Heart so highly when we consider the twelve special graces hidden for us in the devotion. These are the graces of the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart.


Stage: Four children and a nun; young girls making first Communion; laborer and wife; bride and groom; aged couple. All facing shrine of the Sacred Heart.

Reader: The First Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

To the child the Sacred Heart promises the grace of a purity that is spotless in its whiteness; and innocence untarnished; and obedience that is willing; a reverence that is based on love. To the young man and young woman He promises that He will be the guardian of their actions, the gentle censor of their conversation, and their anchor in the stormy sea of temptations.
To the father and mother He promises the grace to be faithful in the fulfillment of their duties as parents and spouses. They will be cheered in their dark hours and consoled in their failings.


To the aged He promises the grace of peace and contentment, the gift of growing old gracefully and of advancing confidently toward Himself until the very last moment of their lives.

All on stage recite the morning offering in unison: O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intention of this month.

Curtain closes slowly as they come to the end of the morning offering.

Music up.


Stage: Mother crocheting or knitting; child standing at her knee; father reading Bible; boy on floor looking at father; little girl with doll. Sacred Heart shrine in background.

Reader: The Second Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will establish peace in their homes.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

To those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart our Lord gives promise of holy peace, a lasting peace, a peace “which the world cannot give.” Misunderstandings will cease. Unkindness will fade away. Love will reign supreme in homes devoted to the Sacred Heart. The peace of Christ will be in them.



Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love; for
It is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, give peace to the world.

Music up.


Stage: Girl in wheel chair with prayer book; boy with crutch and rosary. Both facing toward shrine of the Sacred Heart.

Reader: The Third Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will comfort them in all their afflictions.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

“Comfort” is a word that carries with it a healing balm. When our hearts are sorely wounded by the ingratitude of those who should love us the most, we can find comfort in the Heart of Christ, still loving us in spite of our many acts of ingratitude. Insults, calumnies, slanders, and false accusations are stab wounds to the human heart. Doubts and anxieties, dreads and worries, all leave their mark upon it. To whom can we go for relief? The Sacred Heart promises that He will never fail us.


Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

“Do not let your heart be distressed; as you have faith in God, have faith in Me. There are many dwelling-places in My Father’s house; otherwise, should I have said to you, I am going away to prepare a home for you? And though I do go away, to prepare you a home, I am coming back; and then I will take you to myself, so that you too may be where I am… “ (John 14:1-3 Knox). “I will not leave you friendless; I am coming to you” (John 14:18). “Peace is my bequest to you… Do not let your heart be distressed…” (John 14:27).

Audience: Song: “Jesus, Jesus, Come to Me.”


Stage: Person on deathbed; relatives kneeling around; priest in cassock and surplice; sick-call table with candles, and so forth. Sacred Heart shrine in background.

Reader: The Fourth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will be their secure refuge during life and above all in death.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

Land, sea, and air are filled with potential dangers in life and limb. Death sudden or slow can claim us wherever we may be. Its shadow is in the hazards of ice, snow, fire, and water. It takes its grim toll from the battlefield, from the hospital, and from the prison cell. Terror and fear are frequently associated with the thought of death. But to those whose refuge is the Heart of Christ, death is but a gentle journey homeward; the trials, cares, and sadness of earth are silently exchanged for the joys of heaven.


Curtain slowly closes as Reader continues:

Come to Me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Come, you blessed of My Father, enter into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Music up.


Stage: Carpenter with tools; girl at typewriter; boy with fishing rod; girl with broom. All facing toward shrine of the Sacred Heart.

Reader: The Fifth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

Whatever is done by those devoted to the Sacred Heart will be blessed. The divine seal of approval will be stamped upon every act that is dedicated to Him. From Morning until night, each and every undertaking, even the most trifling, can claim the fulfillment of this Promise. If we look after the interests of the Sacred Heart, the Sacred Heart promises to look after our interests.


Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle
In all the events of life—
In disappointments,
In the thoughtlessness of others,
In the insincerity of those I trusted,
In the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside,
To think of the happiness of others,
To hide my little pains and heartaches,
So that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden or embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable, that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty, and overbearing.
May no one be less good for having come within my influence, no one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow traveler in our journey toward eternal life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time a word of love to You.
May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.

Audience: Song: “Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All.”


Stage: Priest and penitent in confessional. Shrine of the Sacred Heart in background.

Reader: The Sixth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “Sinners shall find in My heart a source and infinite ocean of mercy.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

Why give up? Why despair of God’s mercy? Even if by offences against so loving a Friend you have raised up a mountain of blasphemy, dishonesty, untruthfulness, drunkenness, or impurity before the face of your crucified Savior, He still is ready with a love more boundless than the ocean to receive you again into His friendship. New strength will be given you, your evil record will be blotted out forever; you will get a chance again to fight valiantly for the King. Think well of this Promise and hasten to Him for pardon.


Priest on stage: May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and I by His authority absolve you from every bond of excommunication and interdict insofar as I am able and you have need thereof. And now I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Music up.

Curtain closes slowly as Priest makes Sign of the Cross.


Stage: Charitable woman visiting family of sick woman. Sacred Heart shrine in background.

Reader: The Seventh Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “Tepid souls shall grow fervent.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

There are some souls that resemble a lamp that has burned low. They are neither bright nor dim, neither hot nor cold, neither good nor bad. If such souls will take up devotion to His Heart, our Lord promises to warm them to fervor in the flames of His own love. He promises to give them the courage to bear contradictions and irritations; courage to be patient and not restless; courage to be forbearing with others; courage to go forward bearing the cross, silently, patiently, and willingly. These are the great gifts contained in the Seventh Promise.


Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not ask for reward, save that of knowing that I am doing Your will (St. Ignatius Loyola).

Solo: “O Sacred Head.”


Stage: Nun at prie-dieu before shrine of the Sacred Heart.

Reader: The Eighth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

There are souls that are never tired of giving. They are always striving to do more. Like the angels that surround the throne of God, they spend their lives in adoration, thanksgiving, love, reparation, and consecration. And these great souls are not found only behind the walls of convent or monastery. Every Catholic parish has many of them. They are the “unknown soldiers” of the King, animated by their love for Him. If such souls are devoted to His Sacred Heart, they will soon mount to high perfection.


Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

O God! I love You, not that I
May reign with You eternally,
Nor that I may escape the lot
Of those, O God, who love You not!
You, You, by Jesus, You for me
Did agonize on Calvary,
Did bear the cross, the nails, the lance,
The rabble’s ignominious glance;
Unnumbered griefs, unmeasured woes,
Fainting and agonizing throes,
And death itself, and all for me
A sinner, and Your enemy.
Ah! shall not then, Your love cause me,
Most loving Jesus, to love You?
Not that in heaven I may reign,
Not to escape eternal pain,
Nor in the hope of any gain;
But as You, Jesus, did love me,
So do I love and will love You,
Because You are my King, my Lord,
Because, O Jesus, You are God (St. Francis Xavier).

Music up.


Stage: Family kneeling before Sacred Heart picture. Children in pajamas.

Reader: The Ninth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will bless every place where a picture of My heart shall be set up and honored.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

The pictures of our earthly friends and loved ones are put in a place where they will serve to recall their memory. Have we a dearer or more loving friend than the Sacred Heart? His picture should be in every church and chapel. It should be found in every classroom, office, courtroom, and prison. An honored place should be given to it in every room of our home.


Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

Almighty and everlasting God who does approve the painting and carving of images of Your Holy Ones, so that as often as we gaze upon them we are reminded to imitate their deeds and sanctity, we ask You please to bless and sanctify this picture made in honor and in memory of the most Sacred Heart of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and grant, that whosoever, in its presence, will suppliantly worship and honor the most Sacred Heart of the only-begotten Son, may obtain through His merits and intercession grace in this life and everlasting glory in the world to come.

Music up.


Stage: Priest as if talking to convict; prison personnel, Sacred Heart shrine in background.

Reader: The Tenth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

Satan is ever on the alert to snare the souls that belong to Christ. There is a spiritual deafness in some souls. They are stubborn, hard, and unyielding to the loving pleas of Christ. These souls fall an easy prey to the Evil One. Yet a priest really devoted to the Sacred Heart is assured of divine assistance in winning them back again.

Curtain closes as Reader continues:

O Lord, who makes Your angel’s spirits and Your ministers as flaming fire, send priests in abundance to Your people. You, who know the hearts of all men, single out those chosen ones, to whom You would entrust this sublime ministry of truth and love. Enlighten their minds, that they may understand the inestimable grace of their vocation; fortify their will, that they may not lock themselves within the low clouded plains of human desire, nor tremble at the thought of sacrifice, but spread their wings and soar like royal eagles toward the serene, resplendent heights of Your eternal priesthood. Reveal to their parents how grand and incomparably beautiful it is to give their very own sons to You; and grant them strength to conquer the opposition of their selfish interest and affection.
And then, O Jesus, may they be true angels for Your people; angels of purity, of charity, of light; angels of sacrifice, of comfort, of counsel, of grace; angels of peace, pouring into their hearts as they breathe their last, the ineffable sweetness of the desire and love of You, and opening for them the gates of heaven, where You are the eternal light and joy of hearts for ever and ever. Amen (Pope Pius XII).

Audience: Song: “Lord of Mercy and Compassion.”


Stage: Nun teaching children. Sacred Heart poster, and so forth, on wall. Sacred Heart shrine in background.

Reader: The Eleventh Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My heart, never to be blotted out.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

Is it difficult to promote this devotion? We find it easy to talk about the qualities that make beautiful the friends we love. We even try to imitate in our own lives the traits of character, manner, speech of our favorite hero. Thus it will come as an easy talk to a lover of the Sacred Heart to show by word and example, by written page or printed book, the undying qualities and characteristics of our Friend.


Curtain closes slowly as Reader continues:

O Jesus, my Redeemer, who has revealed to us the riches of Your Heart, I consecrate myself entirely to You, and promise to spread the worship and promote the interests of Your Sacred Heart.
I choose the Blessed Virgin Mary, queen of apostles, for my mother, proposing to imitate her love for sinners, and to promote devotion to her Immaculate Conception.
Please accept my humble offering, Lord, and as You have inspired me to make it for You, grant, I beg, the grace to fulfill it.

Music up.


Stage: Priest as if distributing Communion. Communicants at railing, others waiting. Shrine of the Sacred Heart in background.

Reader: The Twelfth Promise of our Lord to those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart: “I promise you in the excessive mercy of My heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments; My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.”

Curtain opens slowly as Reader continues:

We have it on the word of our Lord Himself that if we receive Communion worthily on nine consecutive First Fridays, He will give us the grace to be saved. He promises that if necessary He will see to it that a priest is with us.
He promises that if necessary He will bombard our hearts with His grace until we yield and return to Him. It is no wonder that this Twelfth Promise is called simply: “The Great Promise: of the Sacred Heart. With such an outpouring of the Heart of Christ, manifested to us in these Promises, is there anyone who can refuse to be devoted to His service forever?

Priest (on stage, as he places host on tongue of one of the communicants): May the body of our Lord Jesus Christ protect your soul into life everlasting. Amen.

Curtain closes slowly.

Reader: Behold this Heart which as loved men so much that it has spared itself nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself in order to prove to them its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude, by reason of the contempt, irreverence, sacrilege, and coldness which they show Me in this sacrament of My love.

Solo: “Panis Angelicus.”

Announcer: Concluding remarks.

Audience: Song: “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.”

Episodes in the Life of Christ over the Public-address System

The following two skits were dramatized over the public-address system for children in the upper grades of grammar school.

Correlation with the Sacred Heart may be ensured in several ways: using a pertinent title, like an invocation from the Litany of the Sacred Heart or a familiar aspiration; presenting on the First Friday or on the occasion of a school consecration; sponsoring as part of a local campaign to promote the Sacred Heart badge, the morning offering, or Holy Communion of Reparation.

Provided the coordination has been worked out beforehand, it is better to have several persons put on the program. The speakers should be the pupils themselves, including the master of ceremonies or announcer.

Similar themes have been worked out in which girls may participate, impersonating the Blessed Virgin, St. Mary Magdalene, and other women in the New Testament.

Heart of Jesus Full of Goodness

Scene 1

(Everyone talking at the same time)

Jesus: All right, men. Easy, now. One at a time. Peter, you look as if you are going to explode. I think we better hear your story first.

Peter: Lord, I feel as if I’m ready to explode. I wish You could have seen the devils I cast out in Your name. And the number of people I’ve won for You---practically the whole countryside.

Jesus: Well done, Simon. But don’t be too sure. Now, John, suppose we hear about your venture.

John: Master, I preached to the people of the villages to do penance and used quite a few threats that should move them to do great things. And were they impressed when I described the wonders of the coming Kingdom.

Jesus: Threats are good, John, but love is better. Who’s next? Philip, you’re wearing a complacent smile. Tell me of your success.

Philip: Well, Lord, I don’t know how much of a success I was. I preached Your word to the villages, but You know that I am not as dynamic as most of my companions.

Bartholomew: Ah, Philip, you don’t know your own strength. Lord, it would take me all day to tell You about all the hearts this agreeable chap won.

Jesus: Spoken like a true friend, Bartholomew. Philip, remain as simple as a dove, but don’t forget what I said about prudence. Thomas, I haven’t heard from you.

Thomas: Not much to tell, Lord. I’m afraid I bungled this time.

Jesus: Why this discouragement? In My service even failure is success.

James: Lord, I didn’t think it possible that men would listen to the likes of us.

Jesus: Yes, James, get men to do great things, but remember it must be for Me. Judas, your report is last.

Judas: Well, Lord, I remembered Your warning not to trust men. I made sure that all was safe. You know how imprudent Simon Zealot can be sometimes, but I managed to save him from mistakes and all went fine with us.

Jesus: Judas, you have been faithful over a few things, but look first for the kingdom of God and His justice, and all of these other things will be added. Well, men, there’s no need for Me to say how well pleased I am with you. Now that you’re back together again, I suppose you’d like to settle down for a rest.

Peter: On the contrary Lord; we’re ready to go on wherever You are. You know that we’ll work ourselves ragged for You.

John: Master, where could we rest in Capharnaum? You no sooner come out into the street than people start to crowd around. If You stay inside, they’re at the door.

James: That’s right, Lord. In and out, in and out. They refuse to leave You to Yourself..

Thomas: There’s so much coming and going, that we seldom have so much as time to eat.

Jesus: Peter, John, Thomas, all of you. Come apart into a desert place and rest awhile with Me.

John: Come apart, with You alone! It’s too good to be true!

Peter: What a holiday it will be!

Matthew: I know the perfect spot. High up on the coast, just beyond the Jordan.

Philip: You mean that grassy plain almost surrounded with hills? That’s my territory. This will be perfect. We can just sit and rest all day and have Jesus all to ourselves for a change.

Matthew: It’s still early in the morning and the streets are quiet. We can make a quick getaway.

Jesus: You’re right, Matthew. Peter, you and James step lively and get the boat ready.

Peter: Right away, Lord.

Scene 2

(On the boat approaching the shore, where a crowd of people are waiting)

Peter: Do you see what I see! Look at the crowd!

James: How did they find out where we were going? Its beats everything.

Andrew: Well, what’ll we do? We did come to rest awhile and be alone with the Master, you know. So, what do we run into---some thousands of people. That isn’t my idea of being alone. What say we hoist sail?

All: Good deal. We’ll go along with that.

Philip: Wait a minute! Don’t you think it would be a nice idea if we asked the Master what He wants to do?

John: I don’t think we’ll have to ask. Look at Him. You’ve seen that look on His face and in His eyes before. He can’t resist them. He never could. He can’t refuse anybody anything, especially when they’re like that crowd there on the shore. They’re nearly falling into the water they’re so eager to see Him. The Master said something very softly a minute ago. It was so low that I didn’t catch it all. Something like---“sheep without a shepherd.” The look in His eyes when He said it. He loves them. He wants them and they want Him---just like us. Don’t you see, He’s got to go to them.

Peter: All right, John, all right. We know. Here we come, people. Row ashore, boys. Whatever He wants, John, whatever He wants.

Crowd 1: The Master!

Crowd 2: It’s Jesus!

Crowd 3: I knew He’d land when He saw us. Let’s wade out and help them in.

Peter: For goodness’ sake, give Him enough room to put His feet on dry land.

Jesus: Peter.

Peter: Sorry, Lord, guess I got a little excited.

Crowd 1: Master, tell us about your Kingdom.

Crowd 2: Yes, Lord. C’mon over this way!

Crowd 3: We want Him over here. You won’t leave us for a while, will You, Jesus?

Cyrus: Jesus, Jesus, is it Jesus? Is He going by now? Somebody tell me please.

Crowd 1: That’s Cyrus, a beggar of twenty years now. Born blind. He’s crippled too. Pipe down, Cyrus, the Master doesn’t have time to stop and chat with you.

Jesus: Here I am Cyrus. Don’t be afraid. What do you want?

Cyrus: Oh, Lord! Just to see the trees and grass and the mountains that they’ve told me about. And to walk on my feet like everybody else. I know I don’t deserve it, not in the least bit, but---oh, Lord---I want to do some good before I die, not just be a burden to everybody. But what can I do---like this?

Crowd 2: Say, what’s got into Cyrus? He’s never let steam off like that before! He just sat there at the gate, day in and day out, not a word out of him, as meek as a lamb no matter what people did to him.

Jesus: The Father’s will is all anyone needs to do, Cyrus, and you’ve been doing that for twenty years now. And what happens today is His will too.

Crowd 1: Look, He’s putting His fingers on Cyrus’ eyes!

Jesus: Stand up and walk, Cyrus!

Crowd 2: Look, He’s helping Cyrus up! How gentle the Master is! And Cyrus is walking!

Crowd 3: Now Cyrus has fallen on his knees at the Master’s feet.

Cyrus: I can see! I can see and I can walk!

Jesus: I know, Cyrus. Walk and see, and keep on doing the Father’s will. Nothing else is important.

Peter: Look at the people now. They’re swarming all over Him like a hive of bees. All one of those poor wretches has to do is look at the Master---they don’t even have to say anything---and they’re cured.

Thomas: The Master seems to have forgotten everything and everybody else but the one He’s talking with right now. Look at the way He’s holding that baby that was crying until the Master picked him up. The two seem to have a language all their own.

Peter: Maybe they do, Thomas. Do you remember what He told us on the Mount that one day? It just seems to fit now, somehow. Don’t ask me why but it just hit me. Remember? “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”

Scene 3

John: The Master has been teaching for quite a while. Maybe we could get Him to stay for the night and rest.

Philip: The women and children must be tired out from the long walk.

Peter: If we had something to eat, we would all feel better.

Andrew: That’s a good idea, Peter. Where will we get food way out here in the country?

Judas: Remember the people haven’t eaten all day either. They couldn’t possibly have packed a lunch in such a hurry.

James: What do you propose we do?

Peter: Let’s send them into the towns. They can come back again tomorrow if they like, but Jesus is tired and so are we. Do you realize that we haven’t stopped to rest since we began to pack the boat this morning? I’m about starved myself.

Judas: If the people went to town, we could easily scout up enough food for ourselves.

John: Let’s ask the Master.

Philip: Just look at Him closely. He needs a vacation, but try and tell Him that.

James: Maybe we could manage to take Him on a fishing cruise which would last a week or so. I’ll wager we could have Him to ourselves then, and of course, He’d get some rest. Peter, what do you say? Should we plan it?

Peter: Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Ask Jesus first and if He likes the idea, we’ll go. He may have something planned for us.

Philip: Here’s your chance, John, to ask Him what we should do. He’s just finished talking to those two little girls wading in the stream.

John: Jesus, it getting quite late and the crowd is getting hungry.

Jesus: Well, John, what do you propose we do?

John: Peter said to send the people home or to Capharnaum Bethsaida to get food and lodging for the night. They could come back tomorrow. What do you say?

Jesus: I don’t want to send them away hungry. Do we have any food on the boat?

John: No, Lord, there’s not a loaf in sight. We were in such a hurry to leave town unseen that we forgot to pack any food.

James: Judas says that we have about two hundred pence set aside for a rainy day. Could we spend that on the crowd?

Judas: Be practical, James. Two hundred pence’s worth of food wouldn’t make a dent in a crowd like this. There must be almost five thousand empty stomachs out there.

James: Well, we could give out as much as it would buy.

Peter: We can’t do that! If we’d start to feed them and run out before they all had food, we’d have a riot on our hands. Personally, I’d rather not fight a mob on a full stomach, let alone on an empty one.

James: Where’s your courage, Peter? What about all those devils you cast out last week?

Peter: Ah, lay off!

Jesus: Take it easy, boys. You’re taking this problem too seriously. Here comes Andrew. Let’s see what he has to say.

John: Who’s your little friend, Andrew?

Andrew: Fellows, meet Sammy. I found him along the beach whistling to high heaven. And, by golly, he’s got reason to whistle. Look inside his basket. Five loaves and two fishes. He said he’s taking them home to his mother for their supper.

Jesus: Oh, then he wouldn’t want to be selling them to some hungry fishermen.

Thomas: Five loaves and two fishes, Lord!

Sammy: Sure, I’ll sell. I can always buy some more when I get to town.

Jesus: Thank you, Sammy. See that man with the moneybag. He’ll pay you right now. Peter, Andrew, James, John. Tell the people to sit down on the green grass in small groups. We’re going to feed them. Father, may your name be glorified by what is going to happen. Here, Peter, take this part and distribute it among the crowd. Andrew, here’s some for you. James, John, all of you, help distribute the bread and fishes.

All: Distribute this among the mob?

Jesus: That’s right.

Peter: Andrew, do you feel as silly as I do, taking this little bit out to that crowd. I hope we can outrun five thousand people. Let’s start with the children first.

Philip: You boys are putting the cart in front of the horse. Look at the Master up there. He knows what you’re talking about and He’s got something planned.

James: Fellows, look what I’ve got.

Peter: Yeah, a cracker sandwich. I’ve got one too. Give it away and we’ll all go home.

James: Give it away! That’s what I’ve been doing for the last five minutes.

Peter: What’s the matter? This crowd too good for fish sandwiches?

James: They love them. Been gobbling them down two and three at a time. In the last five minutes I’ve given away a couple of hundred.

Peter: Get serious.

James: I just keep pulling them out. Every time I put my hand in the bag, there’s another sandwich.

John: He’s right. Look, I’m doing it too. They’re multiplying right in my hands.

Philip: Look at the Lord. He enjoys seeing the people satisfied. But His thoughts are far away. Wonder what He’s thinking about.

Peter: Enough of this chitchat. Let’s get to work and feed this mob.

James: Do you know what this is, men, it’s a miracle.

Peter: I’m speechless.

Jesus: Finished already, Peter?

John: Lord, it’s a miracle. You performed a miracle with our hands.

Jesus: Yes, John, you gave the people bread.

John: Your bread, Lord, heavenly bread.

Peter: Here comes Matthew. His mouth is still wide open with astonishment. Catching flies, Matthew?

Matthew: How can we take this so calmly, Peter?

Peter: Calmly! Who’s calm? I’m flabbergasted.

Thomas: Lord, the crowd is getting excited. It’s just sinking in that they’ve been fed with miraculous bread.

Philip: Excited isn’t the word for it. They want to make You a king, Lord.

John: What a king You’d be, Lord.

James: Mob psychology. The twelve of us could encourage them, and before morning You’d have a crown on Your head and be sitting in the palace at Jerusalem.

Jesus: James, My kingdom is not of this world. Peter, while the others are gathering up the fragments on the ground, you and James get the boat ready. I want the twelve of you to set out to sea as soon as possible.

Peter: Put out to sea and leave the crowd?

John: Gather up the crumbs? Us?

James: There goes our kingdom.

Philip: C’mon. Let’s do what the Master wants. We just got finished learning He knows what’s best even though we can’t explain it.

Peter: I don’t know why, but here I go.

Heart of Jesus Our Life and Resurrection

Scene 1

Peter: All ashore that’s going ashore.

John: This is a beautiful spot, Lord, sort of isolated from the rest of the world by that semicircle of mountains.

Jesus: It certainly is, John, just a little hollow between the mountains with a few tiny villages running up the hillside.

Peter: The whole valley is so rich and green. I wonder what kind of people live in those little villages?

Jesus: Matthew should be able to tell us something about them.

John: Yes, Matthew, you ought to know something about this place.

Matthew: Can’t say that I know very much about it. The people are more or less cut off from their neighbors by those mountains, and they seem to want to be left alone. They’re a mixed race, part Jew and part heathen.

James: It’s obvious they are not all Jews. Look at that plateau looking out over the lake.

Andrew: You’re right, James, a herd of swine. You’d never find that in a Jewish country.

Peter: Here comes a couple of villagers to greet us. Man! These people don’t miss a thing. They must be jealous of their privacy.

Jesus: They look like father and son.

Hiram: Howdy, strangers. My son Jacob and I were on the way to the well when we noticed your boat pulling in. Did the storm last night send you to our shores or do you have friends and relatives hereabout?

John: No, we’re from Galilee. This is new territory for us.

Hiram: We thought so. No one who knew much about Gerasa would dock their boat here. Isn’t that right, Jacob?

Jacob: That’s right, Dad.

Jesus: It is strange you should say that. We were just remarking on the beauty of the spot.

Jacob: Tell them about the demon, Dad.

Peter: Demon?

Hiram: That’s right! See those tombs over there. Well, there’s a poor creature possessed by a demon that has been living there for years. Sometimes he just lies in his hiding place and no one can find him. Then all of a sudden he will break out and run everywhere, howling and shrieking and threatening anyone he meets. Then, other times, he will take it out on himself, howling and shrieking while he beats and tears his flesh until his body is a mass of cuts and blood.

Andrew: Why don’t the villagers put him away?

Hiram: We tried to. He snapped the chains as though they were threads. We gave up finally and left him to live down here among the tombs. No one ever comes down this way unarmed.

Matthew: I can see why.

Peter: Should I get the boat ready to shove off, Jesus?

Jesus: Not just yet, Peter. We have work to do here. Look over there.

Peter: Well, speak of the devil and he’s sure to appear! What a horrible specimen of humanity.

Jacob: Dad, it’s the demon.

James: Is that thing human?

Matthew: Where did it come from?

John: It jumped out all of a sudden, and now it is just staring at us. Look at those bloodshot eyes.

Matthew: Now it’s moving towards us.

Jacob: Dad, look at the man they called Jesus. He is walking toward the demon!

Hiram: You men! Is your leader out of His mind? Doesn’t He fear the devil himself?

Peter: He’s not out of His mind, Hiram. He knows no fear of any creature. He walks through life just the way He’s walking up to that poor animal, without fear.

John: And if you could see His eyes, you would see something that you would not expect to see in such a fearless man. You would see love and understanding for every man alive.

Hiram: The demon has fallen at His feet.

Andrew: Yes, it’s cringing there in front of the Master.

James: It is lifting up its head and arms to defend itself from Jesus. It is afraid that He will strike it.

Demon: What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the most high God? Do you come here to torment us? I beg You do not afflict us.

Jesus: What is your name?

Demon: Legion, for we are many!

Jesus: Go out of the man, you unclean spirit.

Demon: Do not drive us away, out of the country, or command us to go into the dark abyss. If You cast us out, command us to go into the herd of swine that we may enter into them.

Jesus: Go!

John: Peter, the swine are getting restless!

Peter: They’re rushing to and fro as if a swarm of bees has descended on them.

Matthew: They’re heading for the lake. The whole herd of them is stampeding.

Peter: There they go, into the lake, the whole bunch of them right where they belong.

James: And look at the demon, as quiet as a lamb at the Lord’s feet.

Hiram: There is peace and understanding in Jesus’ eyes.

Matthew: Yes, and joy and satisfaction in His face.

Jacob: And the demon has the same look in his eyes and on his face. Jesus is stooping to help him up.

John: It’s happened again. No one can come close to Jesus without changing for the better, anyone that is sincere and true, that is.

Peter: We have an audience. There around the bend a group of people have been watching the whole scene.

Hiram: Those are my neighbors. We’ll bring them over. Come on, Jacob.

Peter: Well, Lord, it looks as if You have another crowd that will want You to heal their sick and teach them about the kingdom of God.

Jesus: I don’t think so, Peter.

James: What makes You say that, Lord?

Jesus: These people are perfectly content in their little valley. They lead peaceful lives and have the security of their own property. They won’t want a strange teacher to disturb their valley.

Peter: You mean they’ve feathered their own nests and don’t want to risk losing them, even for God Himself.

Jesus: Well, we’ll see. Here comes Hiram now. What’s the matter Hiram, you look like a man with a problem.

Hiram: No, I’m all right, Jesus. It’s like this. My neighbors and I--well, er--we really appreciate what You’ve done--but, well--a--we’ve decided that--well--a--

Jesus: That’s all right, Hiram, I understand. Men, set the boat up to set sail.

Peter: (sarcastically): So long, Hiram, it’s been nice.

Jesus: Peter!

Peter: I’m sorry, Lord, but if there’s anything I can’t take, it’s a coward. His neighbors put him up to that speech.

Jesus: I know Peter. But sometimes apparent failure turns out to be a success. Let’s shove off.

Demon: Jesus, Jesus, wait, please wait.

Andrew: Why it’s the demon.

James: The ex-demon, you mean. Those are the first sensible words he has spoken.

Jesus: What is it, my good man?

Demon: Jesus, don’t leave without me. Let me go along with you. I’ll go anywhere and I won’t cause any trouble. Please, Jesus, I’ll do anything You want.

Jesus: Anything I want? Then return to your house and your friends and tell them the great things that God has done for you and the mercy He has had for you.

Demon: I will, Jesus, I will. I’ll go from town to town preaching Your goodness.

Jesus: Your reward will be great for you are doing the Father’s will.

Scene 2

(On the boat)

Peter: Well, the Master did it again. Those people will be talking about that cure for the next couple of weeks.

John: Yes, Peter, they were certainly amazed. But it’s funny how the miracle affected them. You never know what people are going to do, do you?

James: They aren’t the only ones who were amazed, Peter. You’d think we’d be used to miracles by this time with all that we’ve seen the Master do, but I’m flabbergasted every time I see a poor lame beggar who hasn’t walked for years get up on his feet and start running around like everybody else.

Matthew: Or when a poor creature who has been blind from birth can suddenly see. And the way they look around to stare at the sky and the trees and the mountains.

Andrew: Yes, Matthew, but mostly the way they look at the Master. That’s a sight they never want to forget. And to think we have Him with us all the time, even if it is with a hundred others around most of the time.

John: Look at Him, now, boys, sitting at the end of the boat looking at the water. He’s thinking about something.

Philip: Praying is more like it.

Judas (from a distance): There’s the fair city of Capharnaum ahead and it looks as if the whole town is waiting on the shore for the boat. Tell the Master we’re almost there.

John: I think we better, Judas, only I think He knows. He’s coming this way now. Lord, we’ll be in Capharnaum in a few minutes.

Jesus: It will be good to get back home. You did a good job of bringing us back, Peter.
We must have crossed in record time.

Peter: There was a good wind, Lord. It looks as if all Your friends came out to meet You.

Bartholomew: There sure is a crowd out there on the shore. Lord, there’s the little woman that was crippled and You made her walk.

James: Can you make out that one figure? Whoever it is he’s not dressed like the rest of the people.

Peter: It’s one of the Pharisees, and you know what that means---trouble. Master, shall we turn the boat around and head for the far shore.

Jesus: We can’t disappoint the people, Peter. They need help. Maybe the man wants something.

James: There’s only one. They don’t ask for trouble when they’re by themselves. Judas, are you able to make out now who it is?

Judas: It looks like Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue. I’ve seen him with the rest.

Matthew: We don’t have to worry, Jairus is a pretty decent fellow. He’s not like the rest of his cronies. He’s never made any trouble for us.

Andrew: He’s awfully worried about something. He’s almost ready to swim out to the boat.

Peter: Never a dull moment with the Master.

Crowd: It’s good to have you back, Master. We’ll help You in. Welcome home!

Jairus (desperately): Please, let me through. Please, I have to see the Master.

Crowd: Move back, it’s Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue. He’s got something to ask Jesus.

Jairus: O Master, I’m so glad You have finally come.

Peter: I never thought a ruler of the synagogue would be glad to see the Master. What does he want?

Jairus: Master, come to my house with me, for my daughter is sick and has taken a turn for the worse. She may even be dead by this time. Come and see her, please. You can make her well again.

Jesus: I will come, for you believe I can help her.

Jairus: Oh, thank you, thank you, Master. I will lead the way. It is only a short walk through town.

James: I thought Jairus said it was only a short walk. We’ve been walking for almost half an hour and we still aren’t there.

Andrew: That’s because of the crowd, James. The way we’re moving now, a snail could beat us by a longer route. Each one of them wants to talk with the Lord or at least say a few words with Him.

John: And these narrow streets don’t help matters any. Five of us have a hard time walking together. Poor Peter. He is having his hands full in not letting the Master get too hemmed in.

Philip: I don’t think He minds. It’s like this any time He gets in the middle of a crowd. But it’s worse in Capharnaum where every body considers himself a personal friend of Jesus.

Matthew: And you know, Philip. I think that’s the reason the Master likes it here and comes to Capharnaum so often. In the boat He even called it His own town.

Andrew: We’re coming to another corner, boys. It’s bad enough when the streets are straight, but at the corners, we really get squeezed together. Hold your breath.

Philip: Whew! I hope there’s not too many more like that. What’s the matter?

James: Jesus has stopped. Are we at Jairus’ home?

John: No, James. Let’s move up to hear what the Master is going to say. The crowd has stopped too and has quieted down.

Jesus: Who was it that pulled on My cloak?

Peter: Who pulled Your cloak, Lord? In this crowd? Master, the crowd hasn’t stopped touching and pulling since we got off the boat.

James: That’s right, Lord. Do you really want to know who touched You?

Jesus: Who touched Me, for I felt strength leave Me?

Philip: Gosh, Peter. Maybe somebody bumped Him too hard. But He’s never resented that before.

John: The crowd doesn’t know what to make of His question, Philip. They just keep looking at Him with a puzzled expression on their faces.

Philip: But the Master is looking for someone definite. And He’s going to wait until that someone answers, no matter how long it takes.

Woman: I touched the hem of your cloak, Lord.

Jesus: Why, My daughter, do you want something?

Woman: My Lord, twelve years ago I was afflicted with a sickness and constant bleeding, and it has grown worse year by year. No one in town knew about it until now, for it means that I am considered unclean and no one would come near me. I was too disgraced to tell anyone. I have tried all the good doctors in town and in all Caesarea and I have even tried all the old remedies of the rabbis. None of them have helped me, my Lord, and now all my money is gone and I was left with nothing except to wait and die.

Crowd: Unclean, unclean, stand back, the woman is unclean. Away, go away.

Woman: Master, I knew You were coming to town and when I saw the crowd and You coming past the very corner where I was standing, I thought if only I could touch You, You could heal me: I did touch Your cloak, Lord, and right away I felt the bleeding stop. I am cured, my Lord, You have made me well.

Jesus: It took great courage and faith to touch Me and to tell Me of your sickness in front of this crowd, My daughter. Because of your faith, your health has been restored to you. Go in peace.

Simeon (friend of Jairus, from afar off): Where is Jairus, ruler of the synagogue?

Crowd: He’s over there with the Master, where the crowd is thickest.

Simeon: Jairus, Rebecca is dead.

Jairus: Rebecca---dead---oh I knew we were going too slowly. And then we stopped for this woman.

Simeon: Here, Jairus, let me help you home. Anna, your wife needs you. The hall is filling with people and we have taken care of hiring the mourners.

Jairus: I was sure the Master could cure her, Simeon. You know all the stories we have heard about the cures right here in Capharnaum. And some of them weren’t even believers. I felt sure He would be willing to do the same for me.

Simeon: Yes, He would have, Jairus, but there’s nothing He can do now. Come.

Jesus: Jairus, I heard the message that your daughter is dead. But do not waver in your faith---only believe in me and she will live.

Jairus: Oh, Master, yes. I do believe, I do believe in You. Come, we will start again for we don’t have far to go. We can be there in a few minutes if we hurry.

Scene 3

(Approaching Jairus’ home)

Philip: We must be nearing Jairus’ house; you can hear the noise of the mourner already.

James: Noise is right, Philip. It’s bad enough at a regular death, but this being a ruler’s daughter and only twelve years old, they’ll be putting on their best show.

Matthew: Jesus is stopping at the gate. It doesn’t look as if He wants any of the crowd to go in with Him. Hey, He’s motioning for us to come to Him. Let’s go. Do You want us, Lord?

Jesus: Philip, Andrew, Matthew; you and the rest of the men take car of these people out here. It will be too crowded if we all go in. Peter, James, John, you come with Me inside.

Peter: All right, Master.

James: Right behind You, Lord.

John: I wonder why the Master picked us. Some of the others were standing closer to Him than we were.

Peter: I don’t know, John, but I wasn’t going to wait to figure it out. When the Master tells me to come, I come.

John: Yes, we know, Peter, and both of us will always be right behind you. But the Master must have a reason for taking the three of us. We’ve never been set from the rest like this before.

Peter: Maybe Jesus thought He would need the help of six strong arms. We’ll just have to wait and see.

James: We’re coming to the room where most of the mourners are. Jesus is going right to them.

John: You can guess how He feels about those hired mourners, James. He’s never said anything about them to us or to anyone else as far as I know. But you know how He feels about that sort of thing. These people are mourning because they are paid and because they know a crowd is here to watch them, not because they feel any real sorrow for the girl.

Peter: They are starting to feel uneasy under His gaze. They know He can tell what really is in their hearts. Let’s go up with Jesus. He might need some help.

John: What’s He saying, James, I can’t hear Him.

James: We’re too far away, John, it was something about sleep and not death. But it looks as if they’re laughing at Him, the whole lot of them.

Peter: Laughing at the Master! Let’s go, boys, that’s enough for me.

John: Wait a minute, Peter, James. They’ve stopped laughing. They look awfully mad about something but too afraid to do anything.

James: They’re picking up their instruments and going out the door. I don’t blame them; I could even be scared of the Master when He looks like that.

John: He’s just like that when He comes in contact with such people as those, James. You know what He called them: hypocrites, white as sepulchers on the outside, but inside full of dead men’s bones.

Peter: But still, we shouldn’t have let them laugh at Him that way.

John: The Master handled things in His own quiet way and now they’re gone and that’s what he wanted.

James: Come on, you two; He’s going with Jairus and his wife into another room and He wants us to follow them.

Jairus: Rebecca, my child!

Anna: Jairus, why is the Master walking over to her and taking her two hands into His, will He really be able to do anything, Jairus?

Jairus: I do believe in Him. Just standing next to Him I could feel strength come from Him just as if it were the rays of the sun. And you saw His eyes. Yes, Anna, I do believe He can do something…. Anna, look, the whiteness is leaving her face and she is beginning to have some color in her cheeks.

Anna: The Master is taking her hands, Jairus, and she is holding on to Him. She is alive, Jairus, our daughter is alive again!

Rebecca: Oh, have I been asleep? I heard someone call my name.

Jesus: Yes, My child, you were asleep, in a very deep sleep. It is almost dinnertime. Now you must be quite hungry. Jairus, Anna.

Jairus and Anna: Yes, Lord.

Jesus: Do you think you could find something for Rebecca to eat?

Jairus: Oh, Master, you have brought her back to life. You have done far more than I ever dared to hope.

Jesus: Yes, Jairus, but it was necessary for you to have great confidence in Me. Not all men would have had the faith or the humility to ask Me to help them.

Jairus: Master, I will tell the whole town about what You have done. I will tell each one as they come in the synagogue that You are truly from God. And I will tell the other rulers how wrong they have been about You.

Jesus: Some will find it very hard to believe for their hearts are insincere. Come, Peter, James, John, the crowd is still outside and there are many others who need our help.

Peter: Lord, I wouldn’t trade my place with You for Herod’s throne and all the money in Rome.

Choral Reading

The following is a sample of choral reading that has frequently been used. It is always effective, easy to do, and students like to offer this type of presentation. The teacher gives them the script and has them work out voice presentation as they wish. This way they really get into it, get the “feel” and get a lot more out of it for themselves. At the same time, they are taking in the “spirit” more so than if they were merely listeners.

Group 1: The last terrible moments….are over. The soul of Christ has returned to the Father.

Solo: “Father, into Thy hands,” He has cried, “I commend My spirit.”

Group 2:

The centurion now
In the darkness of the hour
In the sudden panic of fear
That descends upon the crowd
In the tremor of the earth
He feels in the very tremor of his limbs
Approaches the dead Christ
And searches for the area of the Heart
And finds
And pierces it with his lance.

Group 1: Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.

Group 2: Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.

Group 1:

But the darkness has fled,
There is no tremor now
For brilliance fills his soul
A light shines forth from that pierced Heart
And the centurion falls on his knees.
“Truly He was the Son of God.”


Heart of Jesus, victim for sin, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
One Speaker: And there flows forth from that divine Heart
A drop of blood, and another, and then
A drop of water… there is no more left.

Group 2: All---has been poured out in the abundance of the offering.

All: O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You…all my thoughts, words, actions, suffering…Each drop even to the last drop of water.

One Speaker: A door has been opened.

Group 1:

A door to the Divinity
And all may come here
To wash--to be made clean
In the blood of the Lamb.

All: “Truly He was the Son of God.”

One Speaker: O Jesus, I offer in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.

Another: I offer in reparation for my sins

Another: I offer for the intentions of all associates throughout the world, I offer for this special intention.

Solo: This Heart is opened for us in every Mass.

All: Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us.

One or several:

I see the crown of thorns
I feel the fire of the love
This is Calvary.
This is the Mass.
This is the gateway to the graces I need
If I am a student
A nurse
A father
A mother
A teacher
A laborer
A doctor
A lawyer
A public official
A religious


This is the fountain I seek for peace
With God
With my associates
With myself


This open Heart is my refuge
In doubts
In troubles
These outstretched arms will hold me
And my family
And my enemies
And sinners
And saints
And the world
In its wide and secure embrace.

All: Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You, have mercy on us.

Group 1: This is Friday: this is First Friday. Recall the story of the opening of the Heart.

All: “Truly He was the Son of God.”

One Speaker: Let us stand beneath the cross with the centurion.

Group 2: Let us see that Heart opened wide to receive us. Let us enter the gate, the gate of friendship and peace and security and reparation and love.

A group of several:

Let us see the last drop spent
The last drop
And then the drop of water
And let us add
Our drop
Of reparation
Of offering
Of love----
To His Offering.
Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us, have mercy on us.

There is no set way for arranging the voices. When there is a diminishing of the idea, as with the drop, it is well to begin with a number, work down to two or three and then one voice for the last.

A musical background or a hymn at the breaks in thought helps to create an atmosphere of reverence.

Picture Biography of St. Margaret Mary

The following script was used in a vocation program for high school girls. The program was well received by the students. While pictures from the life of St. Margaret Mary were shown on a screen, a girl slowly read the script. Pictures for use in the project might be assembled from books on St. Margaret Mary. Offices of the French Consulate, the French National Railways, Air France, the French tourist bureau, and so forth, in various large cities are usually anxious to be of help. The tourist bureau in the town of Paray-le-Monial, Soane-et-Loire, France, might also be approached. Assembling the pictures is the hardest part of the project.

Of course both text and pictures can be varied. Moreover, the same general idea may be applied to other aspects of the Sacred Heart Devotion.

Picture: St. Margaret Mary

As our Vocation Week program, we have chosen to present St. Margaret Mary, the Nun. But since it is impossible in our short program to portray a life as full and rich as was that of St. Margaret Mary, we selected two phases of her life--first, her early life and struggles to follow God’s call; second, the four great visions which have brought joy and salvation to countless souls for three centuries.

Picture: Les Janots

St. Margaret Mary was born July 22, 1647, at Les Janots, the home of the Alacoque family. Her uncle, the pastor of the parish church of Verosvres, baptized her three days later. Aristocratic Madame de Fautieres-Corcheval had come from her chateau to be the child’s godmother. Margaret was the fifth child of Claude Alacoque, a royal notary, and of Piliberte Lamyn, who also was the daughter of a royal notary. Until her father’s death, Margaret led a carefree and happy life. She was a fun-loving, very high-spirited and attractive girl. Very affectionate, she basked in the love of her parents and her four brothers, who were very devoted to her.

Picture: Chateau of Corcheval

The mother, being rather delicate, could not give the girl all the care she needed. Thus, it happened that she stayed for long periods at a time at the chateau of Corcheval with her godmother. These visits into the fashionable world might well have turned the head of any other girl. There were the visits from the neighboring lords and their ladies. There were the latest novels from Paris, the new songs, the gossip about young Louis XIV, in a word, all the shimmering dawn of the most gorgeous reign in French history.

Picture: Interior of Corcheval

But none of all this left any mark on Margaret as she grew up. For, fun-loving as she was, she also had a great attraction to withdraw into solitary places where she could pray and where she learned that the joys of intimacy with God make all earthly pleasures fade into mere shadows. Consequently, Margaret spent long hours in the chapel that stood in the garden of the chateau. She tells us later when she was made to write the story of her life that without knowing its meaning she felt continually urged to say: “Oh, my God, I consecrate to You my purity, and I make to You a vow of perpetual chastity.”

And so these enchantments might have continued had she not been singled out by the great Lover of mankind to become the apostle of His Sacred Heart, one of the greatest messengers of His love the world has ever known. Her father died and immediately her uncle and his two sisters with meanness and hardheartedness set themselves against the refined widow to lay her low and to get her at their mercy. Madame Alacoque then sent Margaret to a convent school in Charolles, where she stayed several years. While there she fell ill with a wasting sickness. Unable to walk, her bones piercing her skin on all sides, she was bedridden for four years. She herself tells about her recovery: “All remedies failed, except to consecrate myself to the Blessed Virgin, promising her that if she cured me, I should become one of her daughters. I had no sooner made this vow when I was completely restored to health.”

Picture of Cure

Eager for life after four years of pain, Margaret enjoyed her brothers’ affections and the society of their friends. She put her vow to our Lady in the background and threw herself wholeheartedly into all the pleasures of the countryside. Because of her refinement and her great attractiveness, she received many invitations. However, by now her father’s relatives had taken over the complete administration of the estate. Margaret and her mother were treated like beggars in their own house, except when the boys were home from school; and after they left persecution redoubled until death took those envious and mean women. During these years two of her brothers died, the youngest entered the seminary to study for the priesthood, and finally the oldest brother, Chrysostom, married the daughter of Lord Chalenforge. It was then that the mother urged Margaret to marry, since there were so many desirable suitors. But Margaret simply could not forget about her vow of chastity and the promise she had made to the Blessed Virgin. She was in agony. In fact, the sufferings her relatives had heaped upon her were nothing in comparison to the great interior struggle she endured. On the one hand was her ailing mother who would surely die if she were to become a nun, on the other was her ruthless Lord. In her autobiography she says: “I felt as if bound and dragged by cords so strongly that in the end I was constrained to follow the One who was calling me into some secret place where He reprimanded me severely; for He was jealous of my miserable heart…”

Picture of Ecce Homo

“But… I returned just as heretofore to my vanities, and then in the evening when I took off these accursed liveries of Satan, I mean these vain adornings, these instruments of trickery against Him, my sovereign Master appeared before me, as He had been in His scourging all disfigured, overwhelming me with strange reproaches: that it was my vanities which had reduced Him to this state, and that I was wasting a time so precious of which He would demand from me a rigorous account at the hour of death.” At another time Christ told her: “I have chosen you to be My bride…. When you made your vow of chastity; it was I who was pressing you to make it.”

Picture of Christ

At last came the turning point as she relates: “And one day after Communion… He made me see that He was the most beautiful, the wealthiest, the most powerful…and the most accomplished of all Lovers…And having decided myself for the religious life, this divine Bridegroom of my soul asked me to become the master of my liberty, because I was weak.” Margaret consented and consequently asked her mother that all the suitors should be dismissed. When her Ursuline cousin tried to induce her to join the Ursulines a secret voice told her: “I do not want you here, but at St. Marie.” Now St. Marie was the name given to the Visitation convent. If Margaret was determined to be a nun at St. Marie, her family was still far from letting her go.

Picture of Blessed Mother

In her anguish she had recourse to her good mistress, the Blessed Virgin, who said lovingly: “Do not fear. You will be my true daughter, and I will be your good mother.” About her entrance she writes: “At last came this day so greatly desired, on which I was to say good-by to the world; never before had I felt so much joy or resolution in my heart…I felt like a slave who sees herself delivered from her prison …to enter the house of her Bridegroom…to enjoy His presence, His riches, and His love.”

Picture: Paray-le-Monial

In the novitiate Margaret followed the regular routine of prayer, work, recreation, and rest. Just like the other novices, she found many things to her liking and others hard to overcome. And on August 25, she became Sister Margaret Mary. A nun said years later that, on that day, Margaret’s face was rapturous with joy as she knelt in her bridal array in front of the open grille. The year of her novitiate brought many trials. Others would have given up. Not so Sister Margaret Mary. She made sacrifices for her Beloved far beyond what even He demanded. The more she gave, the more Christ increased His favors and graces.

Picture: Apparition of Christ in the Garden at Paray-le-Monial

After many delays her profession day drew near. During her retreat while she was watching two asses in the garden our Lord kept her company. One day He showed her His Heart saying: “Behold the wound in my side, wherein you are to make your abode now and forever…”

At long last, on November 6, 1672, when Sister Margaret Mary made her solemn profession, she wrote: “He adorned me and treated me like a bride on Thabor. To me this was harder than death, seeing myself no resemblance to my Spouse, whom I beheld all torn and disfigured on Calvary. But He said to me: ‘Let me do everything in its time.’ And He kept His word, giving me humiliations as much through my own natural disposition which was irascible and sensitive, as through creatures and the devil, who often caused me to fall and break everything I held in my hands and then used to mock me by saying, ‘Oh you clumsy! You’ll never do anything worthwhile.’”

Picture: Sacred Heart

Then the first of the great visions, in which Christ revealed His Sacred Heart to Margaret Mary, took place on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, 1673. On that day she had slipped off to the chapel. There she felt suddenly overcome by the divine Presence. “I lost all thought of myself and the place where I was and abandoned myself to the Divine Spirit, yielding up my heart to the power of His love. He made me repose for a long time upon His sacred breast, where He discovered to me the marvels of His love, and the secrets of His Sacred Heart, which He had up to this time concealed from me. He said ‘My divine Heart is so inflamed with love for men and for you in particular, that being unable any longer to contain within itself the flames of its burning love, it must spread them abroad by your means, and manifest itself to men in order to enrich them with the precious treasures which are revealed to you. I have chosen you as an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance for the accomplishment of this great design, so that everything be done by Me.’”

Picture: Another Apparition

In the second vision, Christ’s Heart was shown to her on a throne of fire and flame, shedding rays on every side, brighter than the sun and transparent as crystal. The wound of the spear which He received on the cross appeared, and the Heart was visibly encircled by a crown of thorns and surmounted by a cross. He told her of the relationship between His love and His suffering. He told her that the unbounded love which He had for men had been the source of His sufferings. It was the great desire He had to be perfectly loved by men which made Him form the design of disclosing to them His Sacred Heart, and to give them in these later times a proof of His love, by proposing to them thus an object that would engage them to love Him in return. In the saint’s own words, “He assured me that we must honor the Heart of God under the figure of His Heart of flesh, the picture of which He wished to be exposed, in order to touch the insensible hearts of men…and that wherever this picture should be exposed to be honored, it would draw down every sort of blessing.”

Picture: Apparition before the Blessed Sacrament

The third great vision took place on an unknown date. Let us hear St. Margaret Mary’s own account: “On one occasion while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed…Jesus Christ, my sweet Master, presented Himself to me all resplendent with glory, His five wounds shining like so many suns. Flames issued from every part of His body, especially from His adorable bosom, the living source of these flames. It was then that He revealed to me the ineffable marvels of His pure love, and showed me to what excess He had loved men, from whom He received in return only ingratitude and slights. He said: ‘I feel this more than all I suffered in My Passion…I have a burning thirst to be loved by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and I find hardly anyone who strives, according to My desire, to quench this thirst, by making some return of love…The sole return they make for all My eagerness to do them good, is to reject and treat Me with coldness. Do you at least console Me as far as you are able.’” He then commanded her to receive Holy Communion as often as possible. Moreover, He especially enjoined her to communicate on the First Friday of each month…And to make the Holy Hour. He said, “Every night between Thursday and Friday I will make you share in the overwhelming sadness which I felt in the Garden of Olives, and this sadness will reduce you to an agony harder to endure than death itself. You shall rise between eleven o’clock and midnight and remain prostrate with me for an hour, not only to appease the divine anger by begging mercy for sinners, but also to console Me in some way for the bitterness which I felt at finding Myself abandoned by My apostles.”

The fourth great vision came during the octave of Corpus Christi. Here is the saint’s own account: “Being before the Blessed Sacrament one day of its octave, I received from my God excessive graces of His love, and I felt an overwhelming desire to make Him some return, and offer Him love for love. Disclosing to me His divine Heart He said ‘Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to prove its love for them; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt they show Me in the sacrament of My love…Therefore I ask of you that the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special feast to honor My Heart. Honor My Heart by receiving Communion on that day, and by making reparation to it by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which it has received while it was exposed on the altars. I promise to shower the abundance of My graces upon those who will honor My Heart thus and upon those who will cause it to be honored by others.’”

Picture of the Sacred Heart

The first Feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated privately by St. Margaret Mary in the novitiate at Paray. This is an authentic copy of the picture used by St. Margaret Mary and her novices. The first chapel built in honor of the Sacred Heart is in the garden of the Visitation convent in Paray.

St. Margaret Mary died on October 17, 1690, at the age of 43. She was canonized in 1920.

Picture of Reliquary at Paray

This picture shows her remains in the chapel at Paray.

Like that of all great endeavors St. Margaret Mary’s work did not end with her death. Today as a result of her prayers and sacrifices, we have the benefit of First Fridays, the Holy Hour, the consecrations of families to the Sacred Heart, and numerous other devotions to bring us help and consolation. The Feast of the Sacred Heart was established for the Universal Church over a century ago.

Picture of the Sacred Heart

We are concluding our program with the great promises of the Sacred Heart. (Promises are read.)

Copyright © 1999 Inter Mirifica

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