(Taken from an online Formation Course designed by Father Hans Kwakman MSC in conjunction with the International Committee of the Laity of the Chevalier Family.)
Spirituality of the Heart has its foundation in and grows out of the vision of Jules Chevalier, a vision about a way of living the Gospel that has a particular emphasis on the compassionate heart of Jesus.
For the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the wider Chevalier Family, the heart of Jesus reveals a God who is love and who loves creation intimately and unreservedly.
The presence of God at the heart of the universe makes the world sacred and this presence draws us to transcend our own being through love, a love that has as its source the Heart of God.
A Spirituality of the Heart reverences the human heart as loved by God unconditionally, and as the privileged place of encounter with God. Living such a spirituality involves making the journey into one’s own heart and into the heart of the human condition, open to encountering there the compassionate heart of Jesus.
It is this encounter that has the potential to open our hearts so we can live differently. Spirituality of the Heart invites us to be aware of the movements and responses and yearnings of our own hearts and the hearts of those around us and to be open to the presence of God. This way of living opens up enormous possibilities for life and love and offers a challenge to grow ever more deeply in kindness, compassion, humility, mutual forgiveness, understanding, hospitality, simplicity and a sense of humour.
A Spirituality of the Heart leads us from our own hearts to the pain and suffering of the world in which we live. We are called to be God’s Heart on Earth and to offer ourselves to be used as source of healing for the wounds of the world. We believe, as did Chevalier that this love is the remedy for the ills of the world.
A Spirituality of the Heart is a missionary spirituality. It calls us to be everywhere, in every culture and at every level of society. Religious, diocesan priests and laity all share this mission; the laity have a unique role to play in this mission and are indispensable to it.
Spirituality of the Heart is lived together with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, who formed and carried the heart of Jesus and who points us to his heart.
"A Spirituality of the Heart is a way of living – a way of being in the world…a journey to be travelled (with others), …an energy that sustains and moves us, a dance in which we are participating… a way of being in the world, in relationship to self, others and God; a way of coming to rest within ourselves, at our deepest centre.”
James Maher MSC
In practical terms from St. Augustine: "Once and for all then, a short precept is given unto you: Love God and do what you will. Whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare. In all things, let the root of love be within, for of this root nothing can spring but what is good."