21 June 2010

The True Absalom

This reflection on the Sacred Heart is from a seventeenth-century Carthusian monk named Dom Polycarpe de la Rivière, who has been featured previously at Secret Harbour.

He took three lances in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom. ~ 2 Samuel 18:14

Into the Heart of Jesus, O my soul, direct and take your flight. The Heart of Jesus, His Wounds, His Hands, and His Feet are your elements, your centre and the sphere of your supernatural abode. Long only to thirst after Him, ardently desire only what He is pleased to inspire in you. Beyond Him there is nothing to be gained; out of Him there is everything to lose. All is in Him, nothing after Him. With Him is all happiness, without Him every misfortune. Come then, come with quick footsteps and hasten to reach and enter there, or rather to be His, as we are already in Him. He is in you and you in Him, more than you are in yourself. There place all your words, thoughts, deeds, affections and intentions. Say with holy Job, that in this nest you will die, and as a palm-tree (or like the phoenix) multiply your days, and return to life from the ashes of your Redeemer's death. Give Him heart for Heart, love for love. Then shall you be indeed transformed into Him, when you have made your life entirely conformable to His, ‘not in glorious majesty, but in lowliness of will’, as Saint Bernard says; not desiring any other glory, or other life than Jesus Christ. Jesus is my life, my soul, the heart of my love and the love of my heart! The hart, pursued by hunters and parched with thirst, longs not more ardently for a stream of clear water at which to quench its thirst, than I long to endure all kinds of hardships and sufferings in this life, that I may be united more closely to my Lord and my God!

O God, my God! When shall all Christians follow You as the people of Israel followed Absalom, with their whole heart? Absalom -- without his faults -- has many similarities to the Son of God. Absalom was the son of a king, Jesus Christ is the Son of the King of kings. Absalom was the most beautiful of the children of Israel, and Jesus most beautiful among the sons of men. Absalom hung and died on an oak; Jesus hung and died on the Cross. Absalom, by his death, brought peace to the kingdom of all the tribes of Israel; and Jesus, by His death, saves and redeems the whole world. Absalom was the son of David; Jesus was born of the same race of David; both were put to death to the very great benefit of their subjects and dependents, and both were bruised and pierced by their nearest, most intimate and familiar friends. The name Absalom signifies in Hebrew ‘the Father’s peace’; but Jesus alone gives us true peace with His Eternal Father. A soldier killed Absalom by striking his heart, and a soldier pierced the Heart of Jesus with his spear. Absalom was pierced with three lances; Jesus with three nails, and a lance the point of which wounded and transpierced His Heart with three darts of unspeakable suffering. The first was the cruel blow of all the agonizing tortures of His most ignominious Passion; the second, the extreme anxiety He felt for the inconceivable sorrow and desolation of His most blessed Mother; the third, the hard-heartedness, stubbornness and eternal damnation of Judas and of the greater number of this ungrateful and unmindful people. How strange is this, that one thrust of the spear into the Heart of Jesus Christ, should deal three distinct blows, and wound very deeply three other hearts, those of His afflicted Mother, of Saint John, and of Saint Mary Magdalene!