Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

New Litany to the Sacred Heart in June

The very beautiful, traditional Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which many of us prayed as children, has a long story dating even to the 1600's. It seems to have been created out of many sources including the contributions of a priest, a nun and devout lay woman. 

The month of June, belonging to the Sacred Heart, with this image of the Celestial or Cosmic Christ, seems to invite us to pray our own litany, one perhaps more grounded explicitly in the Gospels. There's no suggestion that it supplant the traditional litany, but simply to offer it. 

Heart of Jesus, conceived in Mary's womb
Heart of Jesus, love for Bethlehem's shepherds
Heart of Jesus, maturing in the Nazareth home
Heart of Jesus, generous at Cana's wedding
Heart of Jesus, in the feeding of five thousand

Heart of Jesus, calling us friends
Heart of Jesus, in the washing of feet
Heart of Jesus, grieved in Gethsemane's Garden
Heart of Jesus, instructing Peter to put away the sword
Heart of Jesus, along the Calvary way

Heart of Jesus, invoking, "Father forgive"
Heart of Jesus, consoling Mary and John
Heart of Jesus, crying out, "I thirst!"
Heart of Jesus, pierced-opening of the Father's House
Heart of Jesus, leaving the Easter tomb empty

Heart of Jesus, that we would feed the hungry
Heart of Jesus, that we would give drink to the thirsty
Heart of Jesus, that we would clothe the naked
Heart of Jesus, that we would welcome the stranger; shelter the homeless
Heart of Jesus, that we would visit the sick and imprisoned

Heart of Jesus, love for blind Bartimaeus
Heart of Jesus, love for the Samaritan woman
Heart of Jesus, love for the rich young man
Heart of Jesus, love for the mothers and their children
Heart of Jesus, love for Lazarus, Martha and Mary

Heart of Jesus, all forgiveness
Heart of Jesus, all welcome
Heart of Jesus, calling the dead to life
Heart of Jesus, over-riding prohibitions
Heart of Jesus, God's rule of love

Heart of Jesus, where power is sought
Heart of Jesus, where terrorists plot
Heart of Jesus, where children are exploited
Heart of Jesus, where the weak are abandoned
Heart of Jesus, where we fail the poorest

Heart of Jesus, forgive our prejudices
Heart of Jesus, heal hateful divisions
Heart of Jesus, raise us out of discouragement
Heart of Jesus, remedy wrong thinking
Heart of Jesus, in our wounds and regrets

Many-chambered and 
opened at Calvary,
your Heart, O Christ,
room for all,
where we find each other,
let's believe it:
thrown away and highly valued,
lovers and haters,
colors and kinds
and all the nations,
believers and unbelievers,
scoffers too,
ivory-ied elephants 
and forest moss,
soil and water
named and un-named stars.

Father Stephen P. Morris


  1. Jesus is all loving of all, merciful of all and compassionate to all. Heart of Jesus, I know you are there for me, whether I remember to ask or not. Whether I feel worthy or not. Help me to be all of this for all my brothers and sister here on Earth.

  2. We pray with you Father. You call our attention to the many facets of Christ. I pray for the humility to even understand God's vast reach into our lives.

  3. God Bless you Fr. Stephen. Thank you for sharing your inspiring prayers with all of us.

  4. What a gift for me and for any priest who wants to share these things. Thank you for following the posts.

  5. Many chambered and room for all. I love this Father. Creative and faith enhancing. I have gone back and looked at many of your prayers, printed them out and will surely be praying them and reflecting on the many themes you have given us.

  6. And the picture is neat too, isn't it? The traditional picture of Jesus, the Sacred Heart but with the celestial sky taken with the Hubble space telescope.