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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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June 17, 2016
 
 
 
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart 
 
During this life, the Heart of Jesus will always remain a friendly Heart to us, the Heart of a tender father, of a spouse.  He will exercise all his mercy toward those who hasten to him with confidence.  It is enough to recall the magnificent passages in which our Lord proclaims his mercy for sinners.  Let us also consider the goodness of Jesus toward sinners.  Jesus and goodness are synonymous; he is filled with compassion for people, even sinners.
 
The moment after Jesus forgives, he shows sinners a kindness and a condescension truly astonishing.  He lives familiarly with them, invites them to his table, and his indulgence goes so far as to scandalize the Pharisees.  The latter questioned the apostles, saying to them, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  But Jesus heard it and said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” [Matthew 9:11-12].
 
What reproaches did he make to the Samaritan woman?  She was indeed guilty; she had had several husbands and the one she then had was not hers.  However, our Lord had only words of tenderness for her, “If you knew the gift of God” [John 4:10].  What is this gift if not the water of grace, of mercy, which springs forth to life everlasting?
 
The Jews brought him the woman taken in adultery.  Here, he was surrounded by heartless men, who wished to obtain from him a judgment against that sinner.  What did the Heart of Jesus do?  Not only did he not accuse her as a judge, but he turned everything so well in her favor that no one dared judge her any longer.  And what did he say then?  “Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir.”  “Neither do I condemn you” [John 8:10-11].  And has he a tribunal on earth today?  Yes, but it is a tribunal where sentences of acquittal are the only ones pronounced—the tribunal of the Sacrament of Penance.
 
We ought to preach this mercy of the Sacred Heart to sinners, to believe in it strongly, and to practice it.  Let us recall that a single image of the Divine Heart can suffice to convert sinners.
 
Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart I, 5th Mystery, 2nd Meditation
 

 
  
 
 

Heart of Jesus: Fr. Dehon's favored image of God's loving concern for all creation

At a Chilean SCJ ministry, this serene image of the Heart of Jesus greets retreatants who arrive seeking refreshment and blesses them as they leave renewed.  The warmth radiating from this weathered, wooden statue seems to exude a sense of welcome.
 
The shape of the head and heart echo each other as does the simplicity of near-abstract facial features and a heart lacking the embellishment of cross and thorns.  This subtle correspondence suggests that effective ministry and wholesome prayer require the union of intellect and emotion.
 
Pointing to his Heart, Jesus says to faithful but wearied Christians, “Come to me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” [cf. Matthew 11:28-29].  With his other hand raised in benediction for those who are living images of his Heart, Jesus proclaims, “As you attend to the needs of the hungry and the sick, as you welcome the stranger, minister to those in prison, and show mercy to the sinner, know that you are blessed by my Father” [cf. Matthew 25: 34-36].
 
Filled with compassion for people, the Heart of Jesus will remain always, in this life, a friendly Heart.  To those who gaze upon this image, Jesus reminds them, “Go and do likewise” [Luke 10:37].       
 
Statue at SCJ Casa de retiro, Campus Quimey, San Bernardo, Chile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reflection Questions: seeds for personal understanding and growth

What is your favorite Gospel passage that speaks to you of Jesus’ mercy for sinners?  What elements contribute to making this passage your favorite?
 
Reflect on a personal experience when you deeply sensed God’s compassion for yourself.
 
In your daily life, where can you “preach” the mercy of the Heart of Jesus with acts of gentleness and kindness?
 
 
 
 
 

Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve

In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer those individuals who have little or no sense of God’s mercy for themselves, as well as those who try to be an image of the merciful Heart of Jesus in the world.  You may find helpful this prayer, based on Fr. Dehon’s Resolution to his meditation, “The Mercy of the Heart of Jesus for Sinners,” in Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart I, 5th Mystery, 2nd Meditation.
 
Heart of Jesus,
better and better do I understand
the goodness of your Heart.
Take possession of me
and enclose me completely within your Heart
so that my confidence in you remains boundless.
 
Help me to preach the mercy of your Heart,
not so much with words,
but with gentleness and kindness.
 
Amen.
 
 

 

 
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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