22 March 2010

Heart Attracts heart

I will draw them with the cords of Adam, with bands of love. (Hosea 11:4)

Videte manus meas et pedes (Saint Luke 24:39) . . . et latus (cf. Saint John 19:34) -- See My Hands and Feet. . . and Side’, adds Saint John the Apostle. But why speak of this Wound in His Side, since our Lord did not receive it until after His death, and consequently suffered no pain there from?

In answer to this question, I should observe, in the first place, that the Blessed Virgin and Saint John were deeply afflicted by this act of useless cruelty. This accounts for that Apostle alone making mention of this Wound, and for his being the only one to mention the fact that from the Side of Jesus, there came out Blood and Water (cf. Saint John 19:34).

Secondly, I should say that there was good reason for this Wound, for from the Side of Jesus the Sacraments receive their efficacy; and from the Side of Jesus, sleeping in death on the Cross, the Church was formed, as Eve had been formed from Adam’s rib while he was sunk in a mysterious sleep.

Thirdly, I would observe that, before His death, Jesus knew that, after death, He would receive this Wound, and that this knowledge made Him suffer as keenly in anticipation as if His Side had already been pierced. Did not the thought alone of the sufferings of His Passion cause Him such bitter grief in the Garden of Olives, that He shed a Sweat of Blood?

See My Hands, My Feet and My Side, that is to say, see the deep Wounds to be found there. This invitation contains an important lesson. Here is what we may learn from it:

Has our love for our Lord Jesus Christ grown cold? Let us look at His Side, pierced and open for us, and suddenly the fire of love will be kindled again in our soul, for this opened Heart must inflame with love the soul that contemplates It. Should courage fail us when we have some work to do, let us look at the wounded Hands of Jesus. Should we feel weak when we have afflictions to bear, let us contemplate the Feet of Jesus, pierced with nails and bathed in Blood. Yes, let us look at those Feet which support the weight of the whole Body.

For this reason the Holy Spirit says to us in the Canticle: ‘Come, O my dove, into the clefts of the rock’ (Canticle of Canticles 2:13, 14), come into the Wounds of Jesus Christ. There you can repose without fear, for no enemy will dare to pursue you into this Retreat. Let us take refuge with the same motive in the Wounds of Jesus Christ at the hour of our death. Nothing could be more beneficial for us. Let the Wounds of Jesus be our dwelling-place. Let us mark the threshold and the posts of the door with the Blood of the true Paschal Lamb, and the destroying angel, seeing this Divine Blood, will not strike us.

Dom James of Clusa
Mitred Abbot of the Cistercian Order,
afterwards a Carthusian at Erfurt.
He died in the year 1466.