Dehonian Spirituality includes prayers and reflections based in spirituality of Fr. Leo John Dehon; it is published weekly by the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
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August 18, 2017

Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart 
From the very beginning, the Holy Trinity conceived the double gift of Jesus and Mary for our salvation and for our happiness.  They are ever united in the promises, the prophecies, and the figures of the Old Law.
Eve, our first mother, at the side of Adam, represents Mary at the side of Jesus, the new Adam.  The first divine promise announces at the same time the Mother and the Son, who, together, will crush the serpent’s head [cf. Genesis 3:13-15].  Isaiah saw the flower of Jesse on its stalk [Isaiah 11:1 10], that is, Jesus in the arms of Mary.  Esther and Judith, at the side of the great judges who saved the people of God, represent Mary, the co-redemptrix.
David sings of the glories of the Savior, the King of Kings, at the same time that he sings of the queen seated at his side.  He says, “My heart overflows with a goodly theme; You are the most handsome of men” [Psalm 45:1, 2].  He is powerful and he is gentle.  He triumphs over all his enemies.  He is the universal judge.  “At your right hand stands the queen in golf of Ophir; and the king will desire your beauty” [Psalm 45:9, 11].
God chose to give us the Mother with the Son, the Queen with the King, and the Advocate with the Judge.  This divine plan is a new manifestation of God’s goodness in our regard.  God seems to say to us, “I give you a very lovable Savior.  He is very easy to approach and very merciful. 
“But in your days of dejection and weakness you might fear to go to him for you might see in him too much of a judge.  You will have, then, an advocate who will intercede for you, a queen filled with sweetness, a loving Mother.  What more could I give you?  Is there anything more encouraging and more consoling than to be able to throw oneself into the arms of a mother, to weep at her knees, to make an appeal to her heart?”   
Her kindness wins all hearts.  Her intervention at the wedding feast of Cana revealed this [John 2:1-11].  Everywhere she is a mother; everywhere she is an advocate.  She is all good.  She is Esther, who intercedes with the prince [Esther 7:2-4].  She is Judith, who delivers her people [Judith 13:18-20].  She is providence for the spouses of Cana and for all souls who have need of her help and assistance.  How generous God is to have given us Mary, who is so good.

Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart I, 1st Mystery, 4th Meditation

Oblation: The daily practice of offering oneself to God's will

At first and even second glance, the feast of the Queenship of Mary would seem to have no relevance in today’s world.  Yet, it is obvious that her role as queen is symbolic and Fr. Dehon puts his finger on its significance when he places “the Mother with the Son, the Queen with the King, the Advocate with the Judge.”  He could have added “the feminine with the masculine.”  These are dualities to be sure, but complimentary roles that are necessary for a balanced life that leads to happiness and peace.    
As Queen, Mary is at the side of Jesus as his confidant and collaborator in the work of redemption.  And is that not also our role?  The SCJ Rule of Life partially defines the work of reparation “as a collaboration in Christ’s work of redemption” [#23].  
“We are called to enter into this movement of redemptive love, by giving ourselves, with and as Christ, for our brothers and sisters” [#21].  “Our love…heals humanity through our participation in the work of reconciliation” [#25].  “Following the Founder…we want to contribute to establishing the reign of justice and Christian charity in the world” [#32].   
We may question Dehon’s piety that imagines Mary as an encouraging and consoling queen who needs to intercede for those who are fearful of a harsh, divine judge.  Ask any priest in the confessional, however, or any spiritual director how many times they have assured individuals of God’s mercy.  Beyond words of assurance, how will fearful or indifferent individuals be convinced of God’s unconditional love without seeing it modeled in our Christian lives?
A life of oblation puts us side by side with Jesus and his saving love.  Daily, it commits us to collaborate with him and contribute to a world that is in need of balance—most importantly the integration of the human with the divine.         

Image: Mary and Jesus through the eyes of the Hindu-Javanese culture, molded plaster of Paris

Reflection Questions: seeds for personal understanding and growth

Fr. Dehon suggests several ways to image Mary: mother, queen, co-redemptrix, and advocate.  What is the most helpful image of Mary for you?
In our polarized world, what are the dualities that need to remain in tension; what are the opposites that need to remain in balance?
In what one, specific way do you collaborate in Christ’s work of redemption?


Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 22.  In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer all who collaborate with, contribute to, and participate in Christ’s work of redemption.  You may find helpful the following Prayer of Reparation taken from the Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  [Note: The Latin word, fiat, refers to the story of the Annunciation and Mary’s wholehearted response, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38)].
Lord Jesus,
love of God made flesh,
born of Mary’s fiat,
you heal the wounds that disfigure our world
and bring us God’s own reconciliation.
Be with us today, Lord.
Bring new life to those who have no hope.
Nourish those who hunger for your presence.
Make one in love all who believe.
Together with Mary,
we offer you our lives.
Send us forth
to cooperate with your reconciling love,
bearing witness to the fullness of your peace.

The backstory
Each week reflections and prayers based in the Dehonian charism are published on the Dehonian Spirituality page of the U.S. Province website of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. This is an email version of that update. 

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The Dehonian Spirituality updates are edited by David Schimmel, U.S. Province director of Dehonian Associates. Questions or comments for David? 
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