For us Dehonians, celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart is a way of recognizing all that the Heart of Jesus is permanently doing in each one of us, and also in the body of the Congregation, and in the whole Church. The love of God is a perpetual gift, it is the fundamental grace of our being here as sons and daughters of God.
I would like to take this opportunity to join with Pope Francis, after his last apostolic exhortation, entitled: ” Gaudete et exsultate”, with the subtitle: “the call to holiness in the contemporary world”, and urge all of us on this Feast of the Heart of Jesus to be reminded that we are always called to holiness, but also that we must recognize that the treasure mentioned by our dear founder, Fr. Dehon, is undoubtedly our inexhaustible source of holiness.
The Heart of Jesus is above all our continual source of sanctification and spiritual health. The Heart of Jesus is the source of all the holiness of the Church. We are especially called to enter into this grace every day, in our oblation, in the celebration of the Eucharist, in adoration, and also in the mission and in all the activities that favor our sanctification. We can say that even in studying we must find holiness.
And as the exhortation states in words that seem very Dehonian to me: “Sanctification is above all a community journey, to be done two by two. The community is called to create that theological space in which one can experience the mystical presence of the risen Lord. Sharing the Word and celebrating together the Eucharist helps us to live in fraternity and transforms us gradually into a holy and missionary community “.
I believe that this year, a special one for us as it is the 140th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation and 175th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Dehon, is a good opportunity to experience who we are: imperfect men before the one who is pierced. It is a year to exercise humility, to be face to face with our miseries, with our environment, with what we are. This allows us to discover that we are a humus: fragile earth, workable land, that we are human. It is about making an inner journey guided by the Spirit of God that helps us to understand that others, my brothers, have weaknesses. That’s why humility makes us tolerant, understanding, and merciful towards all that is human, because the other is similar to me.
Amid this, we can discover in the depths of ourselves the fullness of God (Eph 3:19), his immense love, and the strength of his holiness.