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Teaching the Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Loyola University Press
IMPRIMI POTEST John R. Connery, S.J., Provincial of the Chicago Province, March 3, 1961.
THE NIHIL OBSTAT AND IMPRIMATUR ARE OFFICIAL DECLARATIONS THAT A BOOK OR PAMPHLET IS FREE OF DOCTRINAL OR MORAL ERROR. NO IMPLICATION IS CONTAINED THEREIN THAT THOSE WHO HAVE GRANTED THE NIHIL SBSTAT AND IMPRIMATUR AGREE WITH THE CONTENTS, OPINIONS, OR STATEMENTS EXPRESSED.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart is as simple and as complex, as evident and as elusive, as love. No one who is familiar with the authentic literature on the subject can doubt that devotion to the Sacred Heart is an infinitely rich treasure. Our Lord Himself referred to His Heart, and to the devotion centered on it, as an inexhaustible store of graces and blessings. Yet many Catholics find it a treasure somehow closed and locked to them, forever just beyond their reach.
A Catholic teacher can have no more fruitful ideal than to bring our young people to a firsthand knowledge of the riches of devotion to the Sacred Heart. But how to do it? This book will help show them how. Even more important, the ideas in this book will surely stimulate in the minds of devoted teachers many more ideas for leading their students to the treasures of the divine Heart of Jesus.
We know that in many fields of learning it is often an apparently little thing that brings understanding---a turn of phrase, an apt example or comparison, is the thing that points the way, opens doors, illumines vast reaches of a complex truth. Among the many examples of teaching techniques in this book, all of them tested in the classroom, teachers may find just the device that will open the treasures of devotion the Sacred Heart to the succeeding generations of their Catholic pupils. Or they may be inspired to develop a new and different device, a device all the more effective for being intimately their own. May it be so, and may the teachers too find in this book inspiration to know and love and serve ever more generously the Heart of Christ---the Heart that is never outdone in generosity.
The editors wish to thank the hundreds of Catholic teachers who have contributed to this manual. While they could not use everything that was sent in, the editors are nevertheless deeply grateful for the cooperation and encouragement of all who have taken time from busy schedules to submit material for the manual. Special thanks are due to Brother Luis Tomas, S.J., of West Baden College for typing the manuscript.
The work of eliciting and collating the many responses to the questionnaires, which constitute my primary contribution to the book, was done by a group of devoted and efficient Jesuit scholastics at West Baden College who certainly deserve to be called Associate Editors:
This book is a practical manual for teaching the Sacred Heart devotion to pupils in the elementary and secondary grades of our Catholic schools. It grew spontaneously out of several years of conferences at various colleges and motherhouses in the Midwest, where the dogmatic and technical side of the devotion was thoroughly explained. Without personal experience, however the speakers could suggest only the broadest lines for reducing theoretical principles to everyday practice. Those attending the conferences frequently asked, How do you give this to the student? Instead of guessing at possible answers, we decided to ask the teachers, hundreds of them, to explain the methods they had found successful and share the techniques with others.
The following pages are a compilation of these methods, which have not been changed in the least, except to make an organic narrative and choose the best out of a large number of samples. In the first part we see the actual pedagogy, under two aspects: from the viewpoint of the pupils spiritual needs, especially purity of heart and a personal love of Christ; and from the standpoint of the teachers opportunities for integrating the Sacred Heart devotion with the private and social lives of their students. In the second part we have spelled out the various projects used, the prayers said, assignments given and turned in, and even the student reaction to different methods employed.
The purpose of this manual, therefore, is obvious. It is intended to help the busy teacher fulfill what Christ Himself had indicated through St. Margaret Mary: how much He desires to be known, loved, and glorified by His creatures. Where places and circumstances differ so widely, what is suitable for one teacher may be almost impossible for somebody else. For that reason an effort was made to give a variety of perspectives in applying the values of the Sacred Heart devotion to different situations. Many of them are quite ordinary, in the sense that they require no special talent or preparation. Others are more imaginative and sometimes even ingenious. All have been used in practice, often for years or a whole lifetime, with marked benefit to souls and, incidentally, also to the schools. The contributors hope they are offering at least a stimulus to fellow teachers pursuing the same ideal of Catholic education, in which the whole person, in mind and will, body and emotions, is developed after the pattern of Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 1999 Inter Mirifica
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