February 1, 2019
Fr. Leo John Dehon: founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart
The disciple: Good Master, what should I do to give you my love and to save my soul? I have clearly understood that I have been made to love you and that my salvation consists in this, but what path should I follow to strengthen myself in this love and also to make it as generous as possible by following the intentions of your divine Heart on my soul?
The Savior: If you love me, if you value your own salvation, follow me, submit to my law, observe my counsels. The sole duty, the religious duty, the duty of your state in life is conformity to the divine will: here lies your salvation. By keeping your resolutions in line with the divine will, you have God as your friend. Then I will live in your heart with my Father and my Spirit. Our presence is tender. It brings peace and joy to you which is only a foretaste of the infinite rewards that we are preparing for you.
Am I not your friend, your father, your protector, your brother, and do you not want to follow me because of your friendship and love for me? If you want to follow me, to please me, and to aid me in my work, you must not give in to vain and earthly pleasures, but you must live by the rule of self-denial, of work, and of forgetfulness of self. The one who seeks himself, loses his soul; the one who forgets himself in order to seek me, saves it. “Whoever wants to save his live will lose it; and those who lose their life for my sake, will save it” [Matthew 16:25].
Your self-denial should be especially generous if you have the vocation to follow me in the practice of the counsels of perfection, and if you want your life to be a sacrifice of love and reparation, either in the world or in the cloister. This is a way that demands more sacrifices, but it also gives proof of a greater love, and it is rich in merits and rewards.
Ask me for the enlightenment which you need and I will grant it to you. Sometimes I make my voice heard so loudly and clearly that it leaves you in no doubt. Usually my help is only at work in the soul. I wait for the soul to pray, to seek me; and to knock on the door of my Heart. I have told this to you. “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you” [Matthew 7:7].
My help is not lacking to souls of good will. “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” [Matthew 7:8]. Therefore, look for the designs of my Heart on your soul. If it is a question of a vocation, weigh your attractions, your aptitudes, the spiritual advantages that you will draw from it. When you have prayed, reflected, and consulted your director, light will come, and you will make your resolution with peace of soul. You will offer this resolution to my Sacred Heart and you will carry it out promptly according to the circumstances.
The Retreat with the Sacred Heart, Meditation 31: “The Resolutions and the Decision Inspired by the Sacred Heart of Jesus”
Lived and Shared: contemporary expressions of Dehonian spirituality
Over five years ago, prior to joining the formation community, I told myself that I will discern religious life and give it my all. Little did I know what I would be getting myself into. I find myself with intense joy upon becoming an official member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus when I professed my first vows with the community in August.
I was first struck with the question of how could I be a "prophet of love" to all people as I looked around and noticed the lack of love in the Church and in the world. I live Constitution #23 closely as I welcome the Spirit to guide me in all that I do in a response to Jesus' love. I believe in my call to have a reparative vocation as I know of the suffering in the world—I can't just sit there and stare blankly, work needs to be done. I can only do what I can do; however, if I do nothing then I will lose it all.
I have been able to visit and work with the SCJ community in Mississippi at Sacred Heart Southern Missions where I helped and accompanied the poor and people that we serve. The need for help and love is real and I truly saw the SCJ presence to the community. I have also assisted with the English as a Second Language program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology where I got to know the students who were primarily SCJs from around the world. There I got to see the SCJ community on a global scale and how SCJs from all over help those in need and are in need of love.
Currently, I am involved in youth ministry with the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement in which the spirituality I found to be very similar to the SCJs. I hope to share the love of Jesus with them. As a religious, I help them recognize what they have and how they can help those who are less fortunate than them.
I look forward to what this life as an SCJ will bring me.
Henry Nguyen, SCJ
Reflection questions: seeds for understanding and growth
How do you understand the sole religious duty of your state in life?
When you look for the designs of Jesus’ Heart on your soul, what do you see?
I what way can you be a prophet of God’s love to people who feel a lack of love in their lives?
Prayer: hands lifted in prayer; hands prepared to serve
February 2 is World Day for Consecrated Life. In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayers the Priests of the Sacred Heart and the members of all religious communities of women and men. You may find helpful the following prayer, which Fr. Dehon composed to conclude his 31st meditation in the book, The Retreat with the Sacred Heart.
this is truly what I want:
I want to live and die loving you.
It is in your Sacred Heart,
and according to its designs and its inspirations
that I want to live, to suffer, and to act.
I do not want to seek my own satisfaction,
but your will.
In all things I want to fulfill it,
because there is nothing better or more perfect.
I belong to you, O my Savior;
do with me what you will.
Accept this offering of my entire life
that I am making to you
and kindly accept it as a sacrifice of adoration
and a sacrifice of love and reparation.
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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