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
For Fr. Dehon, the concrete and historical way of meaning and living the missionary vocation was to involve the entire Congregation in a vast and extremely demanding project of missionary work. They were to carry it out with a determination that would produce a continuous crescendo of both the number and the quality of the personnel involved.
In the first place, he firmly believed in the great value of the missionary apostolate, especially if carried out in particularly difficult situations. He often expressed this conviction. “The Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he wrote, “will be better honored if the zeal for his glory is exercised in difficult conditions, as in the distant mission.” And on January 4, 1892, he wrote the objective of the Institute is to offer to the Heart of Jesus “our hearts, immolated in the labor and sacrifices of each and every day, and in those forms of ministry which demand the greatest sacrifice and abnegation; such as aid to the workers, care of the poor, and the distant missions.”
In the second place, Fr. Dehon committed himself totally to arouse and cultivate many vocations to the religious life and to the missionary ideal. He always showed himself as being preoccupied about the number; but even more about the quality. “Pray for our recruitment,” he wrote on June 29, 1922, “our missions require a large amount of personnel. We do not desire them only in number but above all for their fervor and generosity. And again, “Let us work courageously for our missions and recruit many missionaries.”
In brief, Fr. Dehon is a missionary not because he himself went to the missions, but because he showed great courage in his commitment to the missions. His was the courage of faith. It was because of this courage that he did not hesitate to risk even the future of his Congregation, and that he continued to dedicate his best energies to the missions.
With a serene conscience and with gratitude to the Lord, he was able to write in the last volume of his dairy, “With the more than 100 missionaries that I have in all parts of the world, I myself am a missionary.”
Sunday, October 20 is World Mission Sunday, a time to recommit to our baptismal vocation to be missionaries, through both prayer and financial support of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples Pontifical Mission Societies. In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayers missionaries who work at home and abroad. You may find helpful the following prayer for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, October 2019.
God our Father,
when your Son Jesus Christ rose from the dead,
he commissioned his followers
to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Through our Baptism,
we are sent out to continue this great mission.
Empower us by the gifts of the Holy Spirit
to be courageous and enthusiastic
in bearing witness to the Gospel,
so that the mission entrusted to the Church,
which is still far from completion,
may bring life and light to the world.
May all people experience
the generous love and mercy of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.