In the footsteps of Christ
One Lord, one faith, one God and Father, one Spirit, one baptism: this unites all Christians. Yet the work of the Spirit is varied and multifaceted.
We consider Jesus Christ above all in his “sentiments” (Phil 2:5) of love, kindness, mercy, charity,and gift of love. In short: in the symbol of the heart.
Our Faith Experience
The particularity of our worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the profound and lively union with Jesus Christ (mystical) and the readiness for a sensitive interest in social and political questions.
Union with Jesus Christ guides our vision of life’s daily realities for people and in society. This reality shows us traces of the living God today. We carry life’s realities with us into our daily prayer.
According to Fr. Dehon’s Faith experience
This spiritual experience was also characteristic of Father Leo Dehon. At the end of the nineteenth century, among the workers in the French industrial environment, Fr. Dehon was driven by an authentic devotion to the heart of Jesus to passionately commit himself to social justice. Availability, the Eucharist, adoration and union with Jesus are still essential elements of the Dehonian family today, as well as social doctrine, education, youth groups, workers and a social commitment.
The Dehonian cross
In 1979 the German province organized a Youth Day in St. Sebastian college in Stegen on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the school. In preparation for the meeting, a competition was launched to propose a logo, the aim of which was to interpret the expression contained in the book The Little Prince byAntoine de Saint-Exupéry: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly”. The judges of the competition were art professors at Stegen college, Alfred Erhard and Benedikt Schaufelberger. The winner was the student Martin Hättich of Sankt Märgen in the Black Forest. The “Cross with a heart ” logo was further developed by Professor Alfred Erhard and in the following years became the current logo of many Dehonian provinces.
At first glance, the cross with an open heart in the middle appears symmetrical. At a second glance the irregularity of the four arms of the cross emerges. The heart-shaped opening is also asymmetrical. The effect on the observer is not static, but dynamic: As if the heart pulses in the middle of the cross.
The gaze on the cross is oriented towards the center, the heart. In this way two priorities of Christian life are expressed:
- The logo is an appeal in favor of the biblical interpretation that sees in the heart the seat of knowledge: a strong reminder not to neglect the ways of the heart, in order to achieve an integral understanding of the knowledge: “Follow the advice your own heart gives you, no one can be truer to you than that; since a person’s soul often gives a clearer warning than seven watchmen perched on a watchtower.” (Sir 37:13-14)
- The second priority goes directly to the heart of the spirituality of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “There is no greater love than this: to give one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). Looking at the cross we immediately see the heart. We see Christ’s suffering and recognize his love. The logo is realistic; yes, suffering, pain, and the cross are realities in our life and in the life of Jesus. But we proclaim a faith that is not simply fixed on pain, suffering and the cross. In the midst of suffering I am not drowned by the darkness of the abyss, but I discover the ever greater love of God and his Son,“who loved me and gave himself up for me” (Gal 2:20).
- Father Dehon expressed all this in these terms:“Jesus Christ is truly, in his mysteries and in his passion, the Book written internally and externally. And what are the letters that we see traced in this Book? Only these: Love. The scourges , the thorns, the nails, have written them with bloody characters on his divine flesh; but let us not be content to read and admire this divine writing from the outside; we penetrate to the heart, and we will see a much greater wonder: it is the inexhaustible and inexhaustible love that considers anything that suffers and gives itself without growing tired (Oeuvres Spirituelles II, 305)
In this logo the heart at the center of the cross is not simply drawn, but is built from a” free space “. We are invited to fill this empty space with our lives. We are called to be attentive to the experience of a loving Father whom Jesus calls ‘Abba’, attentive to any experience of love that sustains suffering.
We must be close to people, especially in situations of suffering, violence and injustice, so that charity, mercy and justice can also find space in their lives and in society.