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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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September 25, 2015


 
 
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart 
 
“Reparative adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” emphasizes Fr. Dehon to his spiritual sons in a 1912 circular letter, “we must adhere to it faithfully.  It is our daily royal audience.  It is our vocation.  We should be like the friends at Bethany among whom Jesus relaxes.  All the houses should have their days of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and everyone should spend at least his half hour with our Lord.”
 
Two years later, in the midst of World War I, Dehon writes another circular letter, which he entitles, “My Spiritual Testament to My Religious.”  As he concludes this letter, he states, “My last word will be recommending again to you daily adoration, official reparative adoration in the name of Holy Church, to console our Lord and to hasten the reign of the Sacred Heart in souls and among nations.”
 
It is clear from the early history of the Congregation that Eucharistic adoration did not necessarily entail for Fr. Dehon exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or a communal gathering.  In fact, Fr. Dehon asked his community members to sign up for specific times so there would always be someone in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord.  Eventually, the practice changed to a scheduled time of communal prayer.
 
Like the Mass, Eucharistic adoration is a spiritual activity that expresses itself not only in ritual, but also throughout one’s daily routine.  Not exclusively concerned with one’s personal relationship with God, reparatory adoration opens up the person to be available for the work of redemption, or in the words of Pierre de Bérulle, an influential writer of the French School of Spirituality, to become “a pure capacity for God.”
 
Eucharistic adoration is a time to grow in intimacy, as did Jesus’ friends in Bethany.  In the midst of a busy day, it is time set aside to reflect on the motivations supporting a person’s activities and if necessary, to realign them with those of Jesus.  Eucharistic adoration does not intend to separate individuals from their work, but to share with Jesus the joys, sorrows, successes, and failures of their work.  Rather than pulling the Priests of the Sacred Heart away from their efforts, a communal prayer of adoration nourishes their ministries, which they professed in their prayer of oblation to fulfill with love and in union with Jesus.
 
For the Priests of the Sacred Heart, Eucharistic adoration is a time to listen, to receive affirmation, and to accept challenge.  In their Rule of Life, they state, “We meditate on the riches of this mystery of our faith in adoration, so that the Body and Blood of Christ, food of eternal life, may transform our beings more deeply” [83].  This is a mystery that “unceasingly throws us back onto the streets of the world in the service of the Gospel” [82].
 
 

 
 


 
Reflection questions: seeds for personal understanding and growth

The goal of the spiritual journey is to live in intimacy with the divine.  What spiritual practice(s) helps you to grow in intimacy with Jesus?
 
What is your experience of the Body and Blood of Christ, food of eternal life, transforming your being more deeply?
 
If you became “a pure capacity for God,” in what one specific way would you be able “to hasten the reign of the Sacred Heart in souls and among nations”?
 




 
 

 

Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve

In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer the Priests of the Sacred Heart, who profess to seek an intimacy with Jesus through prayer and ministry.  One of their spiritual practices is to pray an Act of Reparation during Eucharistic adoration. 
 
The following Act of Reparation focuses on the ministries of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in North America and is inspired by the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letters, What We Have Seen and Heard; Welcoming the Stranger Among Us; Asian and Pacific Presence, Harmony in Faith; and the study, Hispanic/Latino Presence in the USA and the Church.  The refrain is from the Rule of Life of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, #28.
 
God of freedom and justice,
we seek to learn and understand the Black American experience,
from the bitter days of slavery,
through the troubled times of racial segregation,
to today’s racial profiling.
Help us to realize
that unless all are free, none are free
and that reconciliation must be accompanied by justice.
We rely on you,
knowing that you rely on us, and so we promise,
 
We will search for the signs of your presence
in the lives of people
where your saving love is active.
 
God of every tribe and nation,
we seek to learn and understand the Native American experience.
We inherit a culture that has dominated and robbed
Native Americans of their heritage.
Help us to empower them with freedom, love, and self-determination
so that they can be strong and proud once more.
We rely on you,
knowing that you rely on us, and so we promise,
 
We will search for the signs of your presence
in the lives of people
where your saving love is active.
 
God of outcasts and the poor,
we seek to learn and understand the experience of refugees and migrants,
many who come to our shores on the edge of survival.
May we offer a genuine and suitable welcome to strangers,
share together as brothers and sisters at the same table,
and work side by side to improve
the quality of life for society’s marginalized members.
We rely on you,
knowing that you rely on us, and so we promise,
 
We will search for the signs of your presence
in the lives of people
where your saving love is active.
 
God of unity in diversity,
we seek to learn and understand the experience of Asians,
for whom harmony is central to their lives and cultures,
and who practice a deep spirit of courtesy.
May they help us to embrace a different way
of thinking, acting, feeling, praying, and being Church.
We rely on you,
knowing that you rely on us, and so we promise,
 
We will search for the signs of your presence
in the lives of people
where your saving love is active.
 
God of unconditional love,
we seek to learn and understand the experience of Hispanics,
whose popular religious traditions
speak of an intimacy with you.
May they help us to build bridges
between people of different cultures and ethnicities,
and to model hospitality.
We rely on you,
knowing that you rely on us, and so we promise,
 
We will search for the signs of your presence
in the lives of people
where your saving love is active.
 
 
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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Dehonian Associates Office
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