A Passion for Jesus Christ
What was it that inspired Fr. Chevalier to devote his whole life and work to the Sacred Heart?
What empowered him to perform his mission till the end of his life, with unflagging energy, day by day, notwithstanding many setbacks?
During his whole life, he remained inspired and empowered by a special Gift of the Spirit poured out in his heart. While he humbly received this gift with an open heart, and remained faithful to it during his whole life, this gift or Charism became a permanent source of inspiration for him personally, and a light that gave direction to all his undertakings. This Gift of the Holy Spirit was as a fire that set his heart aflame and ignited him to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
What did this special Gift of the Spirit to Fr. Chevalier include?
Above all, a great passion for Jesus Christ. For Chevalier, Jesus Christ was the Son of God who became human and lived among us in Palestine, as well as the living Lord, still present on earth, in today’s world, more specifically in the Eucharist. The Devotion to the Sacred Heart inspired him to read the Gospels with new eyes. By doing so, he encountered Jesus in a new way: he met Jesus who loves with a human heart and with unconditional love. The same Jesus, he met as the living Lord in his personal prayer and in the Eucharist in which Jesus remains with us, till the end of time. For Chevalier, the Eucharist was the greatest gift of the Sacred Heart.
Driven by this passion for Jesus Christ, Chevalier urged people to read and re-read the Gospel in order to get to know Jesus better. When Jesus is better known, he said, he will also be deeper loved. He himself had discovered – and he wanted others to discover the same – that the essence of the Christian religion is not found in theological doctrine and moral laws, but in a personal relationship with a living person, Jesus Christ, God’s Word Incarnate.
For Fr. Chevalier “the Sacred Heart” was just another name for Jesus Christ, indicating the whole person of Jesus, the Son of God becoming human and loving with a human Heart. (Fr. Hans Kwakman MSC)