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
Jesus is a priest. He exercises his priesthood principally through his Heart. It is love that inspires Jesus and guides him in his immolation for the glory of his Father and for our salvation. The whole life of Jesus was a sacrifice of love. He chose poverty and labor for his hidden life; fatigue, insults, and contradictions for his public life. “Having loved his own, he loved them to the end” [John 13:1].
He goes to meet his enemies in Jerusalem: he gives himself up to his persecutors; to his executioners; to Judas who betrays him; to the high priest and Pilate who condemn him; to the soldiers who scourge him, insult him, and crucify him. “This is,” he says, “so that the world may know that I love the Father” [cf. John 14:31]. St. Paul also shows us that the source of the sacrifice of redemption is found in love: “He loved me and gave himself up for me” [Galatians 2:20]. Our Lord himself said, “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” [John 15:13]. Truly, Jesus exercises his priesthood principally through his Heart.
The priestly Heart of Jesus is the organ of a perfect worship of love and reparation to his Father. As Christ—although pure and perfect in himself—is the head of fallen humanity, he will offer his Father a sacrifice of expiation to restore the outraged glory of his Father. But what victim will he offer to his Father? Only a victim of infinite value; only a divine victim can give adequate glory to God.
The Heart of Jesus will therefore offer himself. He will be both priest and victim. He will immolate himself as a holocaust of love, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition. He will immolate himself by dying for love, by giving up his life even as the executioners try to deprive him of it. “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself” [John 10-17-18].
It was also for love of us that the priestly Heart of Jesus offered his sacrifice to redeem us and to win our hearts. Nor was that all. To enkindle our cold hearts, our Lord willed to multiply his sacrifice over the whole earth for all times. A victim offered and accepted from the first moment of his conception, he has remained priest and victim, for all eternity.
Priest and victim — every Christian must have these marks in some measure.
Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart III, 3rd Mystery, 5th Meditation
Image: Crucifix, formerly in the chapel of Divine Heart Seminary, Donaldson, Indiana
priest and victim,
make me share in your grace; make me like you.
Your priestly Heart will intercede for me,
will bless me, console me, and guide me.
In return, may my heart
immolate itself for you