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I have many memories of my grandmother singing to us when we were little. Maybe she wasn’t particularly singing to us, but when putting us to bed, while cutting vegetables, she was always singing. Mostly, only fragments of the songs remain with me. Well, June being the month that the Church traditionally dedicates to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, imagine my suprise when I heard the lovely people at daily Mass singing one of my grandmother’s songs, O Sacred Heart, O Love Divine. It’s really the sort of gentle, lilting thing that will get stuck in your head — which may not be a bad thing since there are still some days left to June to join the Church in her devotion in our own little way. I only knew the refrain, so I Googled and found a lovely instrumental rendition on Youtube as well as the full lyrics. Happy singing!

 

 
 

O Sacred Heart! O Love Divine!

O Sacred Heart! O Love Divine!
Do keep us near to Thee;
And make our love so like to Thine
That we may holy be.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

O Temple pure! O House of gold!
Our heaven here below
What sweet delight, what wealth untold,
From Thee do ever flow.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

O Wounded Heart, O Font of tears!
O Throne of grief and pain!
Whereon for the eternal years,
Thy love for man does reign.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

Ungrateful hearts, forgetful hearts,
The hearts of man have been,
To wound Thy side with cruel darts
Which they have made by sin.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

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This was the hymn of the mid-morning prayer over at iBreviary. I had never heard it before and found this YouTube video to share with you.

For the times I have shunned the presence of Christ, whether it be his sacramental presence or his presence through the people he puts in my life, Response: Come, Lord Jesus!
– from an Examination of Conscience

I usually remember to genuflect before the Tabernacle. Beautiful gold box, bright red candles: these help me remember that I truly am before the King of kings. But I’m tend to forget the presence of Jesus in the seemingly random people he puts in my life. The grumpy cashier, the tired waitress, the lonely retiree, the person sitting next to me on the bus, a toddler determined to empty all the kleenex boxes into the recycling… it’s not easy to remember. In the rush of just trying to get things done, distracted by my own thoughts, I forget that each individual before me is there for a reason: maybe just a smile or a kind word, but something. So this is my brilliant idea:


Random man walking on the sidewalk?


Not random at all!


This could really improve road rage…

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him and say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?” And the king will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
-Matthew 25:35-40

One of my earliest memories was listening to my grandfather singing Were you there? He sang it quietly as he worked, maybe even absent-mindedly. He wasn’t a talkative man, but he was perpetually singing, usually a gospel song, usually quietly. Where you there when they nailed him to a tree? he would sing, while polishing his shoes, or while using the drill press in his workshop. He knew all the verses. Thanks to him, this song will forever be in my head. It surfaces when I’m working on something quietly, as if genetically programmed. It surfaces particularly during Holy Week. I sing it while washing dishes, or sweeping the floor, and my children are fascinated and listen carefully to the story unfolding. I may have heard a few of them singing it absent-mindedly, too.

I thought I would share the full lyrics, so you can let your inner gospel singer loose, as well as version by Marion Williams, for inspiration.


Were you there, Marion Williams

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

… when they nailed him to the tree?
… when they pierced him in the side?
… when the sun refused to shine?
… when they laid him in the tomb?
… when they rolled the stone away?


Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand, You don’t bring me flowers, 1978.

Dear Jesus,

Yes, I know. It’s true. I don’t bring you flowers anymore. But if you think about it, the last time I brought you flowers was when I was in grade three. To be honest, I forgot and the teacher had to break up her own bouquet so that the handful of us who forgot would have something to give. And anyway, who brings flowers these days? I guess I like it when I get flowers. I have to admit that I’ve never really thought about how you feel about the matter. I have to admit that I’ve never really thought about how you feel about a lot of matters. I do want to get better at showing you how much I love you. I’ll be needing some help.

With greater and greater affection,
Me

What is this?

Here a volunteer parishoner at St. Clement shares her personal experiences as her young family tries to keep the Catholic faith alive in their homes, living out the promises of their Baptism. Thank you for stopping in and be sure to share some of your stories as well!

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