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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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March 20, 2015 

 
Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
 
A favored term for Fr. Dehon, but a difficult sounding word in contemporary culture, is “victim.”  Actually, he used “victim” in both a negative and positive sense.  In his social writings, he deplores the sad state of affairs brought on by the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.  He acknowledges victims of an inadequate educational system; victims of accident, illness, or layoffs; and factory workers who are victims of injustice.
 
In his spiritual writings, however, Fr. Dehon holds up Jesus, “the victim of Calvary,” as an antidote to all these social problems, and from whose example people can “lesson sorrow, prevent conflicts, and resolve the most burning issues of the day.”  In following closely this Divine Victim, who became human to redeem us from the oppression of sin and to restore God’s glory to creation, Fr. Dehon accepted the role of being a victim of love for the victims of sin. 
 
“The victim of the Sacred Heart,” Dehon taught, “should sacrifice himself by love in the flames of the Divine Heart.”  In his desire to cooperate with the designs of God and build God’s reign on earth, Dehon sought models, which he could emulate.  It is in this context that he writes about St. Joseph in The Spiritual Directory of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
 
“St. Joseph was a victim like Jesus and Mary.  He was a victim very particularly in his heart.  What severe trials his privilege of being the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus imposed on him.  He submitted in the most perfect manner to the will and designs of God, even when they were incomprehensible to him or painful to fulfill.  He was an instrument in the hands of God to carry out his plans and, consequently, was a perfect model of the life of a victim. 
 
“St. Joseph is a model for the Priest-Victim himself, although he did not possess the priestly dignity in the real sense of the word.  Who, then, has borne our Lord in purer hands?  Who has ever more worthily presented the Lamb without spot destined for sacrifice?  Who has ever treated our Lord with more respect, more love, a livelier faith, and a purer intention?
 
“At the Presentation in the Temple, is it not by the hands of Joseph and Mary that our Lord offered himself to his Heavenly Father as a Victim of expiation for the sins of the world?  On that great day were not the dispositions and feelings of St. Joseph those of a victim in union with the sacrifice of Jesus and Mary?
 
“The mission of St. Joseph was a sort of priesthood and his whole life was that of a victim.”

 
 


 


Lived and Shared, contemporary expressions of Dehonian spirituality

The classic movie Metropolis presents me an interesting base.  It depicts the relationship between two groups of people: an intellectual elite [the Head] and the laborers [the Hands] within their utopian paradise.  There is no relationship between the two groups.  The elite treat the workers with indifference, neglect, and ingratitude.  Chaos creates a tipping point where extreme violence could define the Head and the Hands.  Tragedy is avoided when one of the elite who became a laborer transcends the situation with reconciliation.  He becomes the Heart.  The silent movie, Metropolis, ends with the panel, “The Heart must be the mediator between the head and the hands.”
 
It is an interesting analogy.  My own life has the labors of my hands and the accomplishments of my head.  Both are part of me but neither fully defines me.  When I add the heart with its trove of relationships, I become complete.
 
As an SCJ Brother for 39 years, the Sacred Heart continues to be the prism by which I try to focus my life, my spirituality, my ministry.  There are times when my relationships are not unifying or reconciling.  There are instances when heart does not mediate the work of head and hands.  There are moments of separation.
 
It is the Sacred Heart, wounded by a lance from which flowed blood and water, that provides the key to hope.  It is the Sacred Heart that helps repair the breach I create in my relationship with God, with other SCJs, with the people who are part of my life.  It is the Sacred Heart who provides my heart the courage and strength to go forth and live as an SCJ Brother and repair what I have broken.  A grand mediator indeed.
 
Frank Presto, SCJ 

 


 

Prayer, hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve

March 19 was the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the United States Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, this was the traditional date for Brothers to make their profession of vows.  In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer all SCJ Brothers and their ministries.
 
The following Oblation Prayer is adapted from the Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
 
Father,
in your love and mercy
you called Joseph, the son of David,
to be the spouse of Mary
and the foster father of your beloved Son.
 
In obedience to your word,
Joseph offered himself to your saving will.
He took Mary as his wife
and gave the name of Jesus to her child.
 
As we remember Joseph’s readiness
to cooperate with your designs,
we, also, wish to offer our lives in loving service.
Send us forth
to bring the name of Jesus
into the heart of the world.
As with Joseph,
give us the courage to do your will
with firm faith and tender love.
Amen.
.
 

Lenten meditations
 
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, the Dehonian Associates office is offering one-minute meditations on the significance of the cross. The reflections come from the writings of Fr. Leo John Dehon. There will be 14 total, sent each Wednesday and Sunday during Lent, with a final meditation on Easter. Those who are subscribed to Dehonian Spirituality will also receive the Lenten meditations. 

 

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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