Dehonian Spirituality includes a monthly reflection and prayer based in the spirituality of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians).
The Heart of Jesus
Excerpt from the homily, “Secret People,” Paul J. McGuire, SCJ
In the eyes of God, there are no small, forgettable people. There are no insignificant, disposable people who don’t count for anything. For God says to each of us through the Heart of his Son: I have called you and I have loved you, I have chosen you to be the apple of my eye.
“Fr. Leo Dehon passionately believed this. On the opening page of his Christian Social Manual he wrote, ‘Every person has inalienable dignity, duties, and rights. Whatever social class one belongs to, every person is endowed not only with a living body, but with an intelligent, free, and immortal soul which God created. Having come from God, this soul should serve God and return to God. Whether this soul lives in the body of a worker at the bottom of a dark coal mine, or in the body of a well-fed financier living in the lap of luxury, it doesn’t matter: in reality, both of them have the same value. They have equal personal dignity, equal moral responsibility, the same eternal destiny, and both of them have been given earthly existence so that through truth, morality, and religion they may strive for eternal life.’
“The devotion of the Sacred Heart is a fairly recent development; it only began to emerge in Christian life about three hundred years ago. It started to gain acceptance and popularity at the same time that modern science and technology were becoming dominant in the world. The Industrial Revolution and the miracles of modern medicine have changed the way we live and how long we live and have made our lives easier and more secure in countless ways. But these inventions and the progress they bring came at a price.
“The Age of the Machine created not only wealth and material abundance, it also brought its own values and created a culture where the production of things was more important than the people who produced them, where efficiency and cost effectiveness were valued more than the health of the workers and the welfare of their families. Modern technology has created a world that runs like a well-oiled machine, but it often dehumanizes the people operating the machine, treating them like cogs on a conveyor belt whose sole purpose is to increase productivity. Even modern medicine has reduced the human body to the sum of its movable parts and it considers the human heart as nothing more than a pump in the machine.
“It was into this world that Christians introduced the devotion to the Sacred Heart which boldly proclaims that there is at least one heart that is a burning furnace of love. Our God is not an impersonal watchmaker who has set the world in motion and then withdraws at a distance to admire the way it keeps on ticking. God loves this world and all who are in it, and he sent his Son among us with a human heart to prove that every human life is meant to be a love affair with God.
“We are created in the image and likeness of God; our hearts are made for God and will find their happiness only in God. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is a statement that every human being is precious in the sight of God and is infinitely valued by God regardless of the person’s abilities or liabilities, his strengths or his weakness, his achievements or his failures; even our sins do not disqualify from the love of God.”.
In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayers all persons who work for peace and reconciliation. You may find helpful the following prayer, taken from Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by Rev. J. Galot, SJ, distributed by the International Institute of the Heart of Jesus.
it is your desire
to embrace all humankind
and to form a community
of which you are the center.
Give us also
such an all-embracing heart,
open to all and guided by love
Create in us
an ever-growing desire
for the unity of humankind
held together by the bond of love.
Help us to work towards harmony
with those who differ from us;
give us tolerance and understanding
for cultures alien to us.
Help us to find ways
towards mutual understanding;
protect us against
undue individualism and nationalism.
Make us ready for the sacrifices necessary
to achieve this unity.
Let us find in your Heart
the source of true solidarity,
ready to cooperate
for the welfare of humankind,
eager to eliminate whatever divides
and to do all that will lead
to a true community spirit.