November 30, 2018
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
St. Joseph has always been recognized as the model and the patron of a good death because having died in the arms of Jesus and under the eyes of Mary, he had the gentlest and the most holy death. St. Joseph had probably died when Jesus, at the age of thirty, began his public life. He had received from Jesus the care of a son, and from Mary the care of a sister and a wife. Oh! the beautiful and holy death is so enviable!
St. Joseph was completely inebriated with the love of Jesus. He took him to Egypt to save him. He cried for him in the Temple when he lost him. He spends his entire life working for him. We do not have Jesus visible to us, but we have the Eucharist. Let us persevere in the habit of communion; it will save us.
For us, the sufferings of Jesus are summarized and symbolized in the crucifix. St. Joseph was not on Calvary, but he had seen Jesus in the poverty of Bethlehem, in the suffering of exile, in the labors of the workshop, and it is next to him and with him that he had worked and suffered. Let us meditate on the crucifix and let us embrace it, and patiently suffer our sorrows.
St. Joseph is good and dedicated. He wears himself out with obscure work to feed Jesus and Mary and to help those who are poorer than his family is. Let us engage in some works of mercy, especially those that challenge us.
Saint Joseph was just, the Gospel says. He had been prefigured by Joseph, son of Jacob, model of innocence and purity. A holy death was bound to crown his holy life. We, who too often fall into sin, let us at least avoid premeditated sins. Let us desire to stay pure. In a moment of surprise, it will keep us from sins of weakness.
O, St. Joseph, I commend to you my life and my death. I will follow your footsteps to save my soul and at the time of my death you will make an appeal for me to the mercy of the Heart of Jesus.
The Year with the Sacred Heart, Second Meditation in March, “The Death of St. Joseph”
Lived and Shared: Contemporary expressions of Dehonian spirituality
Dear Br. Ben [Humpfer, SCJ]—he was my supervisor at Vocation Central. He was so nice to work for and easy to work with. Ben was always ready to help with projects, like counting and shipping our vocation and educational booklets. Sometimes, bulk mailings could total 200 envelopes. I remember, before we came up with a system for our bulk mail, Br. Ben took one look at the number of envelopes and said, “Oh, dear God!” That was the first but not the last time I heard Br. Ben say that. It soon became his signature reaction when something was overwhelming, funny, or puzzling.
When I think of Ben, I can imagine his smile and hear him say, “Oh, dear God!” Working together we’d share stories, likes and dislikes, our ideas, special family memories, and things we enjoyed. Ben’s family was very dear to him especially his cousin Dolly. Working with Ben, our chores suddenly became easier and completed before we knew it.
Of all the things I knew Ben was fond of, three stand out. Ben ever so liked horses, Department 51Christmas Village,and anything to do with the Holy Family. Pictures, figurines, carvings—share with Ben something new regarding the Holy Family and he’ll reach out his hands hoping hold it and get a closer look. His eyes would have a look of majesty and wonder. He’d become very quiet.
And horses! Ben collected tablecloths, placemats, pillows, throws, figures, and even an umbrella with horses on it. He was happy he could ride again even after his hip surgeries. Horses made him smile. Then there’s Department 51Christmas Village. He set up his village with care and precision. While getting a floor’s eye view—to get a closer look—you’d think you were seeing a Dickens’ story. Ben enjoyed Christmas and especially his village. His home was a winter wonderland, warm and welcoming with candles, special treats, a beautiful tree (you had to find the pickle), and many cherished gifts from Christmases past.
Ben picked up another saying during his first winter back in South Dakota, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” Just like the song. Ask Ben, how is he? He’ll say, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” First line in an email, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” After Ben moved back to Wisconsin, he shared some “Baby, it’s cold outside” memorabilia with me, which hold special memories. Br. Ben has and always will have a special place in my heart. I loved him with reverence. I think of him often and miss his friendship. He makes my heart smile.
Nancy Grzesiak (pictured above, left)
Administrative Assistant, US Province
Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve
In your kindness, please lift up in your prayer the deceased members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and your deceased loved ones. You may find helpful the following prayer for the deceased, adapted from the Roman Missal.
O loving God of abundant life,
who has set a limit to this present life,
so as to open up an entry into eternity,
we humbly ask
that by the grace of your mercy
you permit the names of your servants
and our deceased sisters and brothers
to be inscribed in the book of life.
We make this prayer
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
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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