Ireland’s Consecration to the Sacred Heart, by Dennis Florence MacCarthy

Sacred Heart of Jesus stained glass window, Saint Joseph's Cathedral, Macon, Georgia, USA; artist unknown; photographed by the author, summer 2003Where’er beneath the Saving Rood
   The nation kneels to pray,
A holy bond of brotherhood
   Unites us all to-day;
From North to South, from East to West,
   From circling sea to sea,
Ierne bares her bleeding breast,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

She bares her breast, which many a wound,
   Which many a blow made sore,
What time the martyred Mother swooned
   Insensate in her gore.
But, ah, she could not die; no! no!
   One germ of life had she
The love that twined through weal, through woe,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

She gave her sighs, she gave her tears
   To Thee, O Heart divine!
She gave her blood, for countless years,
   Like water or like wine;
And now that in her horoscope
   A happier fate we see;
She consecrates her future hope,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

She consecrates her glorious past
   For glorious tis, though sad,
Bright, though with many a cloud o’ercast;
   Though gloomy, yet how glad!
For through the wilds that round her spread,
   How darksome they might be,
One light along the desert led,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

She consecrates her dark despair,
   Though brightened from above –
She consecrates her Patrick s prayer
   Her Bridget s burning love
Her Brendan sailing over seas,
   That none had dared but he
These, and a thousand such as these,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

And even the present, though it be,
   Alas! unwisely sage –
Its icy-cold philosophy,
   Its stained historic page,
Its worship of brute force and strength
   That leaves no impulse free
She hopes to consecrate at length,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

But oh! forgive what I have said
   Forgive, O Heart divine!
Tis Thou hast suffered, Thou hast bled,
   And not this land of mine!
Tis Thou hast bled for sins untold
   That God alone doth see
The insults done, so manifold,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

For us, but not for us alone,
   We consecrate our land,
The holy Pontiff s plundered throne
   Doth still our prayers demand;
That soon may end the robber reign,
   And soon the Cross be free,
And Rome repentant, turn again,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

One valiant band, O Lord, from us
   A special prayer should claim
The soldiers of Ignatius,
   Who bear Thy holy name.
Still guard them on their glorious track,
   Still victors let them be,
In leading the lost nations back,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee.

Like some tired bird, whose homeward flight,
   Reseeks its distant nest,
Ah, let my song once more alight
   Upon my country s breast,
There, let it rest, to roam no more,
   Avoiding the decree
That lifts my soul, its wanderings o’er,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

Then break, ye circling seas, in smiles,
   And sound, ye streams, in song,
Ye thousand ocean-girdled isles,
   The joyous strain prolong
In one grand chorus, Lord, we pray,
   With Heaven, and Earth, and Sea,
To consecrate our land to-day,
   O Sacred Heart to Thee!

– Dennis Florence MacCarthy