Dehonian Spirituality


Dehonian Spirituality is a weekly e-publication. Mailed most Fridays, it includes prayers and reflections based in the spirituality of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians). Text from a recent issue of Dehonian Spirituality appears below.

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June 5, 2020
Theme: Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, Part I

Reflections from Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart

The Church is enriched by a multitude of channels which bring it graces, but all these graces originate from the one unique source: the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.  It is the Heart of Jesus that merited grace by his sacrifice of love and immolation.

This Heart, hidden beneath the Eucharistic veils, renews there all his mysteries and becomes the mystic Heart of his Mystical Body, the holy Church of Christ.  And as the human heart diffuses blood and life through all the members of the body, so the Eucharistic Heart diffuses throughout the Mystical Body all the forms of his love and grace, and floods the Church with enlightenment and sanctification.

The sanctification of the Church and of each member of the Church is achieved especially through the seven sacraments, the arteries through which flow life and love.  The Heart of Jesus instituted the sacraments and made them channels of divine grace, enriching them with the unction of his blood and of his love.  It was to spread his grace with greater abundance that he instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

By the indwelling of the divine Heart in souls whom Jesus loves, the life of love is developed, that life whose characteristics St. Paul describes so eloquently: “Love is patient, is kind…is not ambitious, it not self-seeking…thinks no evil, bears with all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” [I Corinthians 13:4-7].  In other words, to love the Sacred Heart exclusively, to live only for him and from him—this is the purpose of the mysterious operation of the Eucharistic Heart in souls.

Crowns of Love for the Sacred Heart III, 1st Mystery, 5th Meditation


Lived and Shared: contemporary expressions of Dehonian Spirituality

Pope Benedict XV instituted the feast of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus on November 9, 1921.  The chief reason for this feast is to commemorate the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the mystery of the Eucharist.  For in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, He offers and gives himself to us as victim, companion, nourishment, and the pledge of our future glory.  The Eucharist must form in us a heart that is capable of offering oneself as a living sacrifice, offered for the life of the world, just as Jesus is offered.

We cannot understand the self-giving love of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus unless we first discover the true nature of Jesus’ Heart.  When we gaze into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we see a heart burning with love for us, a heart that loves us so much it was willing to be pierced for us, to die for us, and shed its last drop of Blood.  We, the Dehonians, nourish and strengthen our vocation of love and reparation in the Eucharist and in Eucharistic Adoration because the Eucharist is the heart, the center of every life, every work, and every apostolate.  Our founder, Fr. Dehon, mentioned in the charism, “l would absolutely like to have a house of Eucharistic Adoration for priests.”  It is a primitive ideal.

As members of the Dehonian family, we spend our time with the Eucharistic Lord daily, with an act of oblation, and reparation.  Since the desire for God is written in my heart, and He never ceases to draw me to himself, I consider that it is a moment of uniting two hearts, where the divine Heart of Jesus opens for me to enter with my stony heart into His Heart.  He is not only dwelling deep inside of me but also inviting me to communicate with Him.  And what he wants to communicate with me is His love.

In the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust and my hope, for He comforts me, He listens to me, and He allows me to share in his love.  Anytime that I do something effective for the people of God, I spend time before the Blessed Sacrament as a humble servant seeking his strength and courage, and often ask Him to make use of me as an effective instrument in his hands.

Fr. Praveen Richard

Let me share with you the miraculous presence of the Eucharistic Lord in the healing act of a sick person.  One day, a mother came to me with her friends, with a request for prayer over her son who was admitted to the hospital because he met with an accident and fell into a comma.  Before going to the hospital, I went to the Blessed Sacrament and knelt before the Eucharistic Lord and prayed deeply, surrendering everything to His will.  After the great experience of prayer, I accompanied those people to the hospital, and I saw that the critical condition of the sick person was so pathetic.  As a minister, I administered the Sacrament of the Sick, but I couldn’t give him the Body of Christ.

A year later, I received a thank you letter from him stating that he had regained his consciousness after a couple of weeks of prayer, but that it took him several months to find out my address because I had been transferred to another state.

I believe the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is the new temple and the source of living water.  He is the place where the divine presence dwells on earth, so streams of water flow within him to give life to the world.

Praveen Kumar Richard, SCJ
Image: “Jesus, the True Vine,” stained glass window designed by Angelico Koller, SCJ


Reflection questions: seeds for personal understanding and growth

Although Fr. Dehon understands all the sacraments as channels of divine grace, which the Heart of Jesus enriches “with the unction of his blood and of his love,” he considers the Holy Eucharist as the sacrament that spreads Jesus’ grace with greater abundance.  How do you understand this “grace with greater abundance” when the Holy Eucharist cannot be received [for example, by someone in a coma, or by an entire congregation that is prevented from worshipping due to the COVID-19 pandemic]?


Prayer: hands lifted in prayer, hands prepared to serve

In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayers Catholics throughout the world who are temporarily prevented from receiving sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  You may find helpful the following Prayer of Oblation, taken from the Prayer Book of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the United States.

Lord Jesus,
you are the living bread come down from heaven.
You give eternal life to all who receive you.
When your hour had come
you were lifted up on the cross
to draw all people to yourself.
From your open heart
there came out blood and water
to flood the entire world with grace
and make all creation new.

So now we ask you
to send your Spirit into our hearts
that we may welcome your word.
As bread and wine become your body and blood
by the power of the Spirit,
so, may our lives become
“one never-ending Mass.”

Lord Jesus,
we offer you ourselves today.
Come and live in us.
May we draw people to you
that all may be one.