For the edification of the many on the feast of the Sacred Heart. Here’s a portion of a letter from St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ, written not long after his priestly ordination, tracing “supernatural happiness” back to a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The letter suggests the harmony of human and divine love, of temporal and eternal life, so characteristic of St. Alberto’s writings.
Priest of the Lord!
Letter to a friend, written on October 8, 1933, after his ordination as a priest
Here you have me, a priest of the Lord! You will understand my great happiness and with all sincerity I can tell you that I am completely happy. God has given me the great grace to be able to live contentedly in all the houses that I have passed through and with all the companions I have had. I consider this a great grace. But now, on receiving priestly ordination for always, my joy has reached its limit. Now I desire nothing more than to exercise my priestly ministry with the deepest possible interior life and all the exterior activity compatible with it.
The secret of this adaptation and of its success is in the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is to say, to the overflowing love of our Lord, the love that Jesus as God and as man has for us a love that shone clearly throughout his life. If we could only realize this ideal in our lives: What does the Heart of Jesus think of this or that…? and endeavor to think and feel as he does, how this would enlarge our hearts and transform our lives! Trifles and faults that we commit and see committed around us would disappear and in our communities a natural and supernatural happiness would reign; there would be more understanding, greater respect for each of our brothers, for even the least deserves that we go out of our way for him and not overlook him. This is an idea that comes to me frequently and I’ve done some thinking about it because more and more I would like to make it happen.
I believe that we should live the devotion to the Sacred Heart based on a limitless charity that helps to make our brothers feel at ease with each other and, that lay people feel moved not by our words, which in great part leave them cold, but by our life of charity for them, both human and divine. But this charity must be human if it wishes to be divine. In this pervasive ambient of skepticism in which we live, I do not think there are any other means, humanly speaking, to preach Jesus Christ among those who will only believe the example of a charity like that of Christ.
Goodbye my dear Brother Sergio. Do not forget me before the Lord.
Alberto Hurtado C. S.J