TO THE SACRED HEART
I Hail, sacred Heart of God’s great Majesty! Hail, sweetest Heart, my heart saluteth Thee! With great desire, O Heart, I seek for Thee, And faint for joy, O Heart, embracing Thee; Then give me leave, O Love, to speak to Thee.
II With what sweet love Thou languishedst for me! What pain and torment was that love to Thee! How didst Thou all Thyself exhaust for me! How hast Thou wholly given Thyself to me, That death no longer might have hold of me!
III O bitter death and cruel! Can it be Thou darest so to enter greedily Into that cell divine? O can it be The Life of life, that lives there gloriously, Should feel thy bite, O death, and yield to thee?
IV For Thy death’s sake which Thou didst bear for me, When Thou, O sweetest Heart, didst faint for me, O Heart most precious in its agony, See how I yearn, and longing turn to Thee! Yield to my love, and draw me unto Thee!
V O sacred Heart, beloved most tenderly, Cleanse Thou my own; more worthy let it be, All hardened as it is with vanity; O make it tender, loving, fearing Thee, And all its icy coldness drive from me.
VI O sinner as I am, I come to Thee; My very vitals throb and call for Thee; O Love, sweet love, draw hither unto me! O Heart of Love, my heart would ravished be, And sicken with the wound of love for Thee!
VII ilate and open, Heart of love, for me, And like a rose of wondrous fragrance be, Sweet Heart of love, united unto me; Anoint and pierce my heart, O Love, with Thee, How can he suffer, Lord, who loveth Thee?
VIII O Heart of Love, who vanquished is by Thee Knows nothing, but beside himself must be; No bounds are set to that sweet liberty, No moderation,–he must fly to Thee, Or die he must of many deaths for Thee.
IX My living heart, O Love, cries out for Thee; With all its strength, O Love, my soul loves Thee; O Heart of Love, incline Thou unto me, That I with burning love may turn to Thee, And with devoted breast recline on Thee!
X In that sweet furnace let me live for Thee, Nor let the sleep of sloth encumber me; O let me sing to Thee and weep to Thee, Adore, and magnify, and honor Thee, And always take my full delight in Thee.
XI Thou Rose of wondrous fragrance, open wide, And bring my heart into Thy wounded Side, O sweet heart, open! Draw Thy loving bride, All panting with desires intensified, And satisfy her love unsatisfied.
XII Unite my heart, O Jesus, unto Thine, And let Thy wounded love be found in mine. Ah, if my heart, dear love, be made like Thine O will it not be pierced with darts divine, the sweet reproach of love that thrills through Thine?
XIII O Jesus, draw my heart within Thy Breast, That it may be by Thee alone possessed. O Love, in that sweet pain it would find rest, In that entrancing sorrow would be blest, And love itself in joy upon Thy Breast.
XIV Behold, O Jesus, how it draws to Thee! O call it, that it may remain in Thee! See with what large desire it thirsts for Thee! Reprove it not, O Love; it loves but Thee: Then bid it live–by one sweet taste of Thee!
“Rhythmical Prayer to the Sacred Members of Jesus Hanging Upon the Cross,” ascribed to St. Bernard, translated by Emily Mary Shapcote, found in “The Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” by St. Bonaventure, P.J. Kenedy and Sons (New York: 1881)