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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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April 8, 2016
 
 
 
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart 
 
While a seminarian, Leo Dehon often reflected in his Daily Notes upon the Scriptures that he heard at Mass.  During the Easter season he wrote, “’The one whom you seek is not here’ [Luke 24:5].  All our hopes are in heaven.  ‘Seek what is above’ [Colossians 3:1].  It is there that we find the end of our pilgrimage, our rest, our goal.  There too is our light and our strength.  Let us seek our way and our refuge there in the sacred wounds of Jesus.  It is there too that our love and our heart should be.  The glorious wounds of Jesus teach us the way that leads to the resurrection.”
 
Many years later, in a book of meditations, The Year with the Sacred Heart, Fr. Leo John Dehon again reflects on Jesus’ wounds, which “recall the strength and the courage with which he overcame all suffering without complaining.  They retell the wisdom with which he chose this martyrdom, to atone for all the actions of our hands, all the steps of our feet, and all the thoughts and affections of our hearts.  
 
“They also manifest all his goodness, all his tenderness for us, all the generosity with which he suffered the crucifixion of slaves in order to redeem us.  Finally, his wounds tell of all his apostolic zeal that makes known to us the holiness of actions, and the purity of intentions and affections.”
 
Devotion to the Heart of Jesus, as Fr. Dehon practiced it, focused on Jesus’ wounded side as a visual way to meditate on the sentiments of his Heart.  He writes, “Jesus told Margaret Mary, ‘Those who will be dedicated to my Sacred Heart will have their names written in the very wound of this divine Heart and it will never be erased.’  Affection and trust: that is what the divine wounds teach us.”
 
This affection engenders trust in the Wounded One, who requires that his followers likewise be wounded for the sake of the Gospel.  “Let us live in union with our Lord.  He continues to live on earth in each of his members.  Let us act under the influence of his grace.  Let us unite ourselves to his perfect humility before his Father and to his dedication on behalf of all the people for whom he has become teacher, healer, counselor, friend, brother, and even servant, the instrument of their sanctification and the nourishment of their soul.”
 
With deep affection and complete trust, Fr. Dehon advises, “Like Peter and John, let us run towards the risen Jesus.  This race will last as long as our short life, with temporary pauses granted by the mercy of God and the love of our Lord.  Let us run, let us leave everything behind for the greater good, and let us never look back.” 
 
Daily Notes, April 13-27, 1868
The Year with the Sacred Heart, “Easter Saturday: The Divine Wounds of the Risen Jesus”
 

 
  
 
 

Oblation: the daily practice of offering oneself to God's will
 
The spirit of oblation proposes to present to God, in every moment, a total openness and radical faithfulness to the mysterious movements of divine grace.  Making a daily Act of Oblation is the easy part; living in the spirit of oblation invites the inevitable wounding that comes from not only the foibles of ordinary life, but also mean spiritedness, jealousy, prejudice, and violence.
 
This is not a matter of being a helpless victim, but in the words of Fr. Dehon, being “a victim of love,” by which he means being scarred in the fight against injustice without wounding the other in retaliation.  The value is not in being wounded, but rather remaining unafraid of being wounded.  Still, one could sincerely ask, “Why be so vulnerable?”     
 
During the time of apartheid, Rev. Allan Boesak from South Africa envisioned the final judgment scene.  “We will go before God to be judged,” he wrote, “and God will ask us, ‘Where are your wounds?’  And we will say, ‘We have no wounds.’  And God will ask, ‘Was there nothing worth fighting for?’”
 
And a diocesan priest from Providence, RI, Fr. Peter Scagnelli asks, “What would it mean in our wounded and wounding world, for someone not spared the pain, branded with the marks of Christ, to come upon the scene in loving service, ‘rejoicing with inexpressible joy, touched with glory’ [I Peter 1:9]?”  
 
Members of the Dehonian Family think that there are issues worth fighting for and their spirit of oblation proclaims that they are unafraid of being branded with the marks of Christ. 
 
1978 Centennial logo of the United States Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart,
designed by David F. Schimmel
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reflection Questions: seeds for personal understanding and growth

How do you feel about being branded with the marks of Christ?
 
What in your life is worth fighting for, with wounds to show for the struggle?
 
The risen Christ remains the Wounded One, who continues to live on in each of his followers.  How does this belief teach you the way that leads to resurrection?
 
 
 
 
 

Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve

In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer all those who participate in the struggle for justice.  You may find helpful the following prayer, which is a combination of an intercession prayed during the preparation of the Easter Candle and a portion of a Reparation Prayer from the Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
 
Risen Jesus,
by your holy and glorious wounds,
guard and protect us
as we join you in your uprising against death:
by working to end violence,
by acting to stop oppression,
and by bringing together what sin has scattered.
At last, may death give way to abundant life.
Amen.
 
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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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