04 June 2009

Three Lessons From The Heart Of Jesus

The Carthusian Order has had their share of reflections on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. During this, the month of June, the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I’ll share, Lord willing, some of these treasures which have issued from the monastic cells of solitude at the Charterhouses. This first reflection is from Ludolph of Saxony, a fourteenth century Carthusian at Strasburg and an ecclesiastical writer.

There are three that give testimony on earth; the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood. (1 Saint John 5:8)

"One of the soldiers with a spear opened His Side" (Saint John 19:34). From this last circumstance of our Savior's Passion we learn three useful lessons.

First we learn that if, by renouncing the world and sin, we are truly dead with Jesus Christ, we must be wounded with Him by the sharp spear of Divine love. This is the sentiment with which the Bridegroom in the Canticle exclaims: "Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse" (Canticle of Canticles 4:9). And it was in the same way that Saint Augustine desired to be wounded when he said: "O my sweet Savior, by the life-giving Wounds Thou hast received on which have shed Thy Precious Blood for our redemption, pierce, I beseech Thee, my sinful soul for which Thou hast vouchsafed to die; pierce it through and through with the burning darts of Thy supreme charity. I beseech Thee, most merciful Lord, so to penetrate my heart with the flaming arrows of Thy mighty love, that tears of devout tenderness may spring abundantly from this blessed wound. Strike, O good Jesus, this hard and unfeeling heart of mine with the irresistible force of Thy holy love, so that it alone may fill my thoughts and my affections." Thus speaks Saint Augustine.

From this same event of the Passion we also learn, according to Saint John Chrysostom, that we should receive the Sacraments of the Church with the same fervor and devotion as if they still flowed for us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. The Wound of His Heart is the Source of the Sacraments. As Eve was formed from the side of the first Adam sleeping in Paradise, so our Mother the Church received life by means of the Blood and the Water which flowed from the Sacred Side of the second Adam sleeping on the Cross.

Finally we learn that we must conform our wills to the will of God by accepting all things that are pleasing to Him. Why indeed was the Heart of Jesus wounded for us with this Wound of love? It was in order that we might enter through the Door of His Side into His Divine Heart. There we can return Him love for love; there we can unite our love to His love, so that both may form but one, as white-hot iron in a furnace forms a portion of the fire which consumes it. Since Jesus has suffered His holy Hands and Feet to be pierced for love of us, we ought, for love of Him, to consecrate to Him our hands and feet by offering Him all our affections and our actions. Above all we should offer our hearts to God by conforming our will to His, in gratitude for this Wound of love which Jesus Christ received for us upon the Cross, when His most sweet Heart was pierced through with the dart of an insuperable love. Saint Augustine had entered the Heart of Jesus by this Wound when he said: "Longinus with his spear has opened for me the Side of Jesus Christ; I have entered there, and there I repose securely. The nails and lance cry out that I am risen with Him if I give Him all my love."

Let us then bear in mind, Christian souls, the very great love Jesus has shown towards us by allowing His Side to be opened wide in order that we might have easy access to His Heart. Let us hasten to enter into the Heart of Jesus, bringing there all our love, and uniting it to His Divine love. Our most loving Jesus draws from His Heart the Sacraments which open for us the gates of everlasting life; let us then address Him thus: --O Jesus, after dying for us on the Cross, Thou didst will that Thy Side should be opened by a spear, so that blood and water, emblems of the Sacraments, might flow out. Wound, I beseech Thee, my heart with the spear of Divine love, that I may merit to receive with good dispositions the Sacraments which flow from Thy most holy Side. In opening Thy Heart, Thou hast set ajar for Thine elect the door of everlasting life. Thou, O Lord, art this door through which the just shall pass in. Blot out, I beseech Thee, my iniquities, or they will close for me the Door reserved by Thy care for truly penitent sinners.

Our superabundant redemption springs from the pierced Heart of Jesus. Its source is found there as a hidden treasure. Shall not then this wounded Heart of Jesus wound our hearts? Shall we not feel compassion for Him? Shall we not love Him? It is evident that "with the Lord there is mercy and with Him plentiful redemption--apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud eum redemptio"(Psalm 129:7). Yes, most plentiful ! It was not a few drops, but streams of Blood, which flowed from His five Wounds. He shed it all to the last drop. The Blood circulating under the skin flowed in the scourging, that of the Head in the crowning with thorns, that of the veins when His Feet and Hands were pierced. A few drops still remained in the Breast and in the Heart of Jesus, but they gushed out when the soldier pierced His Side.