Fr. Bruce Wren, LC, recently published I Will Give You a New Heart in the RC Essays series from RCSpirituality.org. This essay has three goals: to propose devotion to the Sacred Heart as God’s fundamental gift to the Regnum Christi Movement, to understand the specific form this devotion takes in the Regnum Christi Movement and, finally, to understand how to apply this practically.
We recently spoke to Fr. Bruce about the book.
So, Fr. Bruce, I understand you just wrote I Will Give You a New Heart on devotion to the Sacred Heart in the movement. What led you to write about the Sacred Heart in Regnum Christi?
Fr. Bruce Wren, LC: In order to understand any reality, one must try to understand the origins or first causes of that reality. Through a long and personal process of study, experience, and prayer, I have come to the conviction that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, understood correctly, is at the very foundation of the Regnum Christi Movement. I wanted to share that conviction and to explain it to the members of Regnum Christi.
What moment has most moved you personally in your devotion to the Sacred Heart?
Fr. Bruce: Besides those personal experiences of prayer that are not easily put into words — as the Latin saying goes, “Individuum est ineffabile!” (The individual is ineffable.) — I would say that Romano Guardini’s The Lord and reflection upon the Gospels themselves have been primary motivations for me to write this.
What do you hope Regnum Christi members will get out of this RC Essay on the Sacred Heart?
I hope RC members get a better understanding of the Regnum Christi Movement! In the essay, I quote Aristotle, who wrote: “All men know that to be wise means to deal with the first causes and the principles of things.” How could we be “wise” members of the Movement if the very principle of the Movement is unknown or, at best, the guesswork of each member?
The table of contents list three parts of the book; I want to ask you a quick question about each part. In section one, you deal with the Sacred Heart in each branch; how does the Sacred Heart unite us?
Perhaps we could put it this way: it is the one great narrative that all RC members, as a community, can understand, and this then helps each individual member plot out the very personal journey they must make within the Movement. It is, I think, the “Map” on which we can all agree, though different members will follow different paths on that same map.
In section two, you speak of the meaning of “heart”; how would you summarize that?
I believe it is best to understand the “heart” (in the specific context of “The Sacred Heart of Jesus” and its consequent devotion) as the spiritual center of our affective responses, among which the principal response is love. In anthropological terms, the essay argues that the “heart” in this sense is a third spiritual faculty, on the same metaphysical level as the intellect and will.
In section three, you speak about practical applications; can you tell us about one that you consider important?
I think the correct use of music, literature and the visual arts is important in the affective formation of RC members.
How do people get your book? Do you have other books available?
Yes, I Will Give You a New Heart is available for $9.95 for printed or Kindle edition on Amazon. I wrote another RC Essay called Poetry Matters, on the relationship between poetry and integral formation, which is available on Amazon for the same price. I also have a publication of some of my own selected poetry, called Fending Off the Dragon Fire: Selected Poems, also available on Amazon. I’m not a good judge of my own work in this sense but, in my opinion, most of it is mediocre. Nevertheless, I do think there are a few good pieces included in the selection.