BY THE REV. H. NOLDIN, S.J.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN.
REVISED BY THE REV. W. H. KENT, O.S.C
At the children's Mass the prayer of the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart and the daily oblation of the Apostleship of Prayer may be recited aloud. He can lend the Messenger of the Sacred Heart to his parishioners and recommend others to read it. He can give, or advise newly married people to purchase, a good-sized picture of the Sacred Heart, in order that by degrees these pictures may find their way into every house, and at his suggestion the night prayers of the family will be said before them. When giving the religious instruction in the school, he may take the opportunity, thus offered, of making the children acquainted with the devotion; and the day on which they make their first communion would be a suitable occasion for receiving them into the confraternity or into the Apostleship of Prayer, if they have not already become members of it. At all events no effort should be spared to celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart with the utmost solemnity and splendour. It is advisable, if this be feasible, to make a novena or triduum before the feast, and to deliver a discourse on the subject, exhorting the people to keep the feast worthily, and above all to approach the sacraments on that day. A Mass should also be said, if not on the feast itself, yet within the octave, in behalf of all the members who have been regular in attending the services of the confraternity, who have in any way contributed to promote it, or who have helped in the due solemnisation of the feast. If this be done the priest may be assured that the zeal and interest displayed by his flock in the celebration of the feast will afford him no slight joy and consolation.
Who, finally, is, more often than the priest, in a position to gauge the depths of human misery, to learn and feel compassion for its extent and gravity? Who has better opportunities to bid the tortured, burdened heart turn to the Heart of Him who said: "I have mercy upon the multitude; " and again: " Come unto Me, all you w r ho labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you." In the confessional, at the sick-bed, when visiting the sorely afflicted, he is able to exhort the tempted, the sufferer, to seek refuge in the Heart of Jesus. If some heavy calamity befalls a family he can invite them to join in some devotion, a triduum, a novena, in honour of the Sacred Heart, or to receive the sacraments with that intention. Or if any danger threatens to fall upon the whole community, an infectious disease, drought, inundation, famine or the like, let him not fail to have public prayers in honour of the Sacred Heart, that the danger may be averted, the dreaded calamity may not occur. A hundred other occasions will present them selves, of which a zealous and wise priest may avail himself, to recommend the practise of the devotion which he holds so dear, and thus cause the Heart of Jesus, to whom he owes so much, to be venerated and loved by the flock whose pastor he is. Whoever has recourse to the Heart of Jesus, with devout confidence may be certain that his prayer will be heard; and each favour and blessing obtained, each gracious answer given to prayer, will serve to enhance the devotion and increase the confidence of the whole congregation.