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).
Reflections from Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
“The opening of the Heart of Jesus is the mystery of mysteries, the foundation of all the others.” It introduces the “invisible wound of love” and it invites one to “go deep into the Heart of Jesus in loving contemplation” and to recognize and graciously receive the love which is at “the source of all the mysteries of salvation.”
In the inexhaustible light of this mystery of mysteries offered to the faith, Fr. Dehon loved to “go to school” with the meek and humble Heart which invites all those “who labor and are burdened,” according to Matthew 11:28. This is certainly the Gospel text which inspired him the most. He dedicated innumerable pages to collecting the entire life of Jesus in all of its manifestations in the radiance of this love: the freedom-giving Word addressed to the “poor” and to the hungry that told of the kingdom of God and its justice, of the tenderness and the efficacy of his welcome reception for all the suffering and unloved, of the magnanimous offering of pardon to sinners, of the delicacy and the assurance of his love for his apostles, for women, for children—in brief, of the Heart of Jesus as a concrete act of compassion and salvation of which the cross was to be the ultimate accomplishment.
The gift which Jesus fulfills on the cross is the love which he shared with the crowds that he chanced to meet: this person’s suffering needed to be relieved, this sinner to raise up through pardon and assurance, a life to be given, a dignity to be regained, a hope to be revived. From the humble life of each day, from Bethlehem and Nazareth right up to Calvary, it is the same presence: that of love which gives itself without counting the cost. It is this presence of love, transfigured in glory but always familiar, which those who were his own found once more at the dawn of Easter and which, thanks to the Spirit, they were to bear witness to.
It is therefore all through the writings of the Gospels that Fr. Dehon sees the content of Galatians 2:20: “He loved me and his love for me made him choose the poverty of Bethlehem, the labors of Nazareth and the fatigues of the apostolate. He loved me and his love for me made him find the pains of his passion and his death sweet. He loved me and he gave me his body and his blood in the Eucharist. He gave me his mother from the height of the cross. It is love which opens the Sacred Heart again, to pour its treasures on us all.”
“All the works of Christ proceed from his Heart, from which flowed and will flow endlessly all good, all joy, and all happiness in heaven and on earth.” Was he not sent to announce the Good News of peace? Is it not true, Fr. Dehon said repeatedly when commenting on the discourse of Peter in Acts 10:36 ff., that he “went about doing good?”
In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayers those who try to love as Jesus loves. You may find helpful the following prayer taken from the booklet, Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by Rev. J. Galot, SJ.
you did not consider it beneath you
to live among us as the servant of all.
You deserve adoration,
but you wanted to be the least among us
and render us the utmost service.
You humbled yourself in human eyes
to the point of annihilation
by the shameful death on the cross.
Let this mystery of your Heart
be a light for our hearts.
Let your unfathomable humility
destroy our pride.
We are athirst for power
and tend to avoid every humiliation.
Let us realize how much nobler it is
to be available rather than to rule;
to serve humbly rather than to command;
to show reverence rather than
to expect reverence and respect for ourselves.
Teach us how to free ourselves
from the promptings of our self-love,
so that we may gladly humble ourselves
to serve others.
Let your Heart teach us
to be available to others,
to serve in genuine love
which makes us able to become little
and keeps us in humble readiness to serve.