“For Father Dehon, the open side and the pierced heart of the Savior are the most evocative expressions of a love which he experiences actively present in his own life…. From the Heart of Jesus, opened on the cross, human beings are reborn in heart, enlivened by the Spirit, and united with their brothers and sisters in the community of charity which is the Church”(RV2; 3).
Thus, we are presented in our Constitutions the spirituality of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus lived by the founder, Father Leo John Dehon. In the spiritual life of Father Dehon, his experience of the love of God, manifested and revealed in Jesus Christ, is offered to us through a wide range of demonstrations of this singular and unique love.
Father Dehon experiences the love that made the Son of God alive on earth: “He loved me and gave himself for me” (Ga 2,20). “Love, says Father Dehon, leads to Jesus, to Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Calvary… His love for us burns in his heart, as it burns as it runs after souls. He burns with love for us” (L. Dehon, Couronnes d’Amour au Sacré-Coeur, Vol. I, pp. 283-284). We can therefore say that Father Dehon believed in love as Saint John expressed: “We have recognized and believed in the love that God has for us. God is love, he who is in love abides in God and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16).
The spirituality of our Founder is that of the love of God in the Heart of Jesus. The love required by the devotion to the Heart of Jesus leads us to respond to the love of God himself, seen as our father, with an effective, grateful love. Love as the fundamental act of being human is that which integrates everything, without which other human actions cease to be authentically distinct from love and from each other. Love is the basis of spiritual life, it is the support of the moral life, it is what gives “unity to all spiritual forces” (L. Dehon, Couronnes d’Amour au Sacre-Coeur, Vol. II, p 171).
The month of June urges us to reflect on that love of Jesus, infinite and merciful love, the love of the pierced side, the love that springs from the Eucharist, the love of the Heart of Jesus. To remember the spirituality of Our Founder, I would like to present the Polish translation of the 93 meditations of Father Dehon divided into three books: Incarnation, Passionand Eucharist, gathered under one title: Couronnes d’amour au Sacré-Coeur. The title of the Polish translation: O. Leon Jan Dehon, Koronki do Najświetszego Serca Jezusowego: Wcielenie, Męka, Eucharystia, DEHON, pp. 191, 171.181.
Continuing to reflect on the aspect of the love of the Heart of Jesus toward us, Fr. Wiesław Pietrzak, professor of homiletics and a popular missionary in Poland, prepared 31 meditations for each invocation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart. The author expresses the desire to help us better understand each intercession and to “know the riches of hidden love in the Heart of Jesus”. In the first meditation, the author presents the history of the litany, the meaning of it and the profound meaning of Christian devotion. The title of the book: Uczyń serca nasze według Serca Twego (Make our hearts similar to Yours), published by the Polish Province in DEHON 2018; it contains 109 pages.
Another book on the theme of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is by Fr. Józef Gaweł, Serce Jezusa naszą niezawodną nadzieją (The Heart of Jesus is our inevitable hope), published by the Polish Province in DEHON 2019; It contains 152 pages. In his book, Fr. Gaweł remembers how our fathers worshiped the Heart of Jesus, offered “Him” themselves, their families and their parishes; it also presents the bond that existed between the daily life and the hopes of the family with the Heart of Jesus. According to the author, these meditations can serve as brief readings during liturgical celebrations in the parish.
The following publication, which we present here, is a volume by Fr. Jerzy Bernaciak, who has a doctorate in theology with a specialization in spirituality. He has worked in Slovakia for many years. The title of the book in the author’s own language is: Miłość i sprawiedliwość. Klucz do historii dawnej i nowej. Nauczanie społeczne Leona Dehona, w świetle nauczania kościelnego oraz teologów i socjologów społecznych(Charity and Justice. The key to old and new history. The social teaching of Leo Dehon in the light of the teaching of the Church, theologians and social sociologists). The volume contains 690 pages with five chapters: I. The great French revolution (1789-1799), its causes and its consequences; II. The Church’s social teaching of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th; III. Biographical characteristics of Leo Dehon; IV. L. Dehon’s view on social issues; V. The realization of the idea of the social realm of L. Dehon through his spiritual sons. The author, in his book, underlines the actuality of the problem of charity and social justice today. Many social problems of the 19th century are already solved, but much remains to be done with the questions of justice and charity. In the book it is stressed that Fr. Dehon worked in the social field in the Church and left his spiritual children an example to follow to improve the life of man in today’s world.
The last book is that of Filippo Bocci: Father Crippa, a militant dreamer. A “trade unionist” priest at the side of the Colf, 121 pages. The book was published by the Fr. Erminio Crippa Foundation as a tribute of the Api-Colf Association to its founder. In the preface of the book is written: “Today this book… brings back to the forefront the life and work of the Dehonian priest, retracing events over more than 30 years, always keeping an eye on the contemporary development of the historical facts of our country. In the pages of this volume are the stages of the commitment of Father Crippa up to the conquest of the most advanced… trade union and civil goals of the category of collaborators”. The biography of Father Crippa, a Dehonian, presents his involvement in social work for the benefit of the poor. He was one of the many spiritual children of Father Dehon who realized the charism of the founder in today’s social works.