I am convinced that God has a special plan for us Croatians. A few days ago, Divine Providence led me to learn that 120 years ago, in the Jubilee year that marked the turn of the 20th century, a truly astonishing, phenomenal event occurred in the history of our people. In that year, on the feast of the Sacred Heart, 22nd June 1900, a staggering 160 000 young Croatian men and women consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Considering the population at that time, that is an astounding number, praise the Lord. This particular line from their consecration prayer really struck me:
“ Mladež roda hrvatskoga, tog predziđa kršćanstva, u svetoj ovoj godini, na svršetku staroga i na osvitu novoga vijeka, …….. svečano obećaje, da će se pod barjakom presvetog Srca Isusova hrabro i neustrašivo boriti za vjeru i za dom.”
Amen! Amen!!! I have included the full text of the consecration prayer below, both in the original Croatian and the English translation. It is well worth reading and reflecting on!
“Mladež roda hrvatskoga, tog predziđa kršćanstva, u svetoj ovoj godini, na svršetku staroga i na osvitu novoga vijeka, Svetosti Tvojoj, Kristovu na zemlji Namjesniku nepogrešivomu, prostrta ponizno pred Tvojim nogama, svečano obećaje, da će se pod barjakom presvetog Srca Isusova hrabro i neustrašivo boriti za vjeru i za dom. U znak ove žrtve srca našega, evo Ti, Sveti Oče, zlatno srce predragoga Spasitelja našega, puno svakovrsnih duhovnih djela, koje na Tvoju nakanu i prema velikome srcu Svetosti Tvoje žrtvovasmo Presvetom Srcu Isusovu. I potpisi ruku naših neka podaju vječnoj spomeni sve što obećasmo i učinismo. A da to izvesti uzmognemo, smjerno molimo očinski Tvoj blagoslov, zalog milosti nebeske za sebe, za svoje roditelje i odgojitelje, te za sav narod hrvatski. U Zagrebu, glavnom gradu Hrvata, na blagdan Presvetoga Srca Isusova 1900.”
“The youth of the Croatian people, that bastion of Christianity, in this holy year, at the end of the old and at the dawn of the new age, prostrate themselves humbly at Your feet, Your Holiness, Christ’s infallible representative on Earth, and solemnly promise to bravely and fearlessly fight for faith and for homeland under the banner of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
As a token of this sacrifice of our heart, we offer you, Holy Father, the golden heart of our most precious Saviour, filled with an array of spiritual deeds, which we have, for Your intention and towards the great heart of Your Holiness, sacrificed to the most Holy heart of Jesus.
And let the signatures of our hands serve as eternal remembrance of what we have promised and done. But to be able to fulfill our intentions, we humbly beseech you for your fatherly blessing, the pledge of heavenly grace for ourselves, for our parents and educators, and for all the Croatian people. In Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1900. “
To mark this occasion of the dedication of the Croatian youth to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a special song was written, “Do nebesa nek se ori” (“To the heavens let it resound”), and its accompanying music was also composed. The lyrics were written by Petar Perica, a 19-year-old high school student from the Travnik Seminary, whereas the music was composed by a young Jesuit, Milan Smolka, who was then serving as a master at the Travnik Seminary.
After high school, Petar Perica joined the Jesuit order and became a great apostle of the youth in Dalmatia, but his life ended in martyrdom: partisans shot him in 1944 on the island of Daksa, near Dubrovnik, without a trial and without charges, along with 53 other prominent citizens of Dubrovnik, among which were six priests. In June 2010, after more than sixty-five years of being buried in a mass grave, a funeral was held and his remains were buried in the Jesuit section in the cemetery of Boninovo.
I will conclude this first (and certainly not the last) article on this monumental event of our nation’s past with some inspiring – and in my opinion, prophetic – words which were written in 1910 on the 10th anniversary of this event. Considering this year, 2020, marks the 120th anniversary of this phenomenal event, praise the Lord, it is right to close our reflection with these words:
“Proslavi li se svečano ova prva desetogodišnjica, onda će se proslaviti jamačno i svaka daljnja, osobito peta, koju će neki mladi još doživjeti, i deseta tj. stota godišnjica prve posvete, godine 2000., koju ćemo, ako Bog da, gledati s neba. Na taj će se način drvce, što ga je hrvatska mladež posadila 1900., sve iz nova prolistati i cvasti i uroditi plodom života. A pod njegovom će stoljetnom krošnjom hrvatska mladež još uvijek pjevati Srcu Isusovu: Dušom tijelom vijek sam tvoj, za krst časni bijuć boj.” (Glasnik Srca Isusova, br. 3, 1910., str. 57)
“If this first ten-year anniversary is solemnly celebrated, then it follows that every subsequent one will be celebrated, especially the fifth, which some young people will still experience, and the tenth, that is, the one-hundred year anniversary of the first consecration, in the year 2000, which we will, God willing, watch from heaven. In this way, the sapling, which was planted by Croatian youth in 1900, will sprout and bloom anew and bear fruit. And under its century-old canopy, the Croatian youth will still continue to sing to the Heart of Jesus: With my soul and body forevermore I am yours, fighting an honourable battle for the Cross.” (Glasnik Srca Isusova, No. 3, 1910, p. 57)
Bog i Hrvati
Pod Barjakom Presvetog Srca Isusova Series
– Part 1 (120th Anniversary)
For more information on this event in Croatian see links below.