On the Pierced Heart of Our Lord.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Pierced Heart of Our Lord.
Jesus has yielded up His spirit; His weary head has sunk upon His breast, and at the same instant in which He drew His last breath the earth quaked, the rocks were rent and fell asunder, all nature mourned, and a thrill of fear and horror ran through the whole earth as a witness to the divinity of the Crucified, and a warning to man of the enormity of his crime. It was consummated; our Lord’s soul quitted His body, and all who heard the last cry of the expiring Redeemer, uttered in His death agony, trembled at the sound. But one of the soldiers who stood beneath the cross raised his spear and thrust it with such violence into the Saviour’s side, that forthwith there flowed therefrom blood and water. Hast Thou not suffered enough already, O persecuted Jesus! Why dost Thou permit Thy broken heart to be thus pierced by a cruel lance? Let us consider the reasons.
1st. Our Lord allows Himself to be tortured in every member of His sacred body, because man has sinned with every part of his body. He suffers His heart, hitherto unwounded, to be pierced with a lance, in order to make atonement for the sins all the members of the human race have committed in their heart, which is the seat of every corrupt thought and desire. It was the all-surpassing love of Christ that guided that lance. It was that divine charity that desired to expiate all our transgressions; it was that charity which resolved to shed His blood even to the last drop for our redemption. Our Lord willed to be the pelican who wounds her breast for the sake of her young; He willed to give His heart’s blood as a remedy for His people who had imbibed the fatal venom of the serpent. O blessed Jesus, wound my cold, sinful heart with the lance of Thy love that I too may feel the pain of that thrust, the pain of bitter but salutary compunction.
2d. Consider that our Lord suffered His heart to be opened by a spear, in order to indicate, as St. Augustine asserts, that now the portals of life are thrown open, through which the streams of divine grace flow down upon mankind. Yes, the riven heart of Jesus is the heavenly paradise; thither sick souls may go to obtain medicine for their spiritual maladies; and there devout souls may take refuge. Like timid doves they seek and find in the heart of Jesus, as in a sure hiding-place, protection from the spirits of hell, the infernal birds of prey. It is the mystic abode of pious souls, who say with St. Eleazar: “If you desire to find me, O my friends, seek for me in the wound of our Lord’s sacred side, for there you will surely find me.” Remember, my soul, that the Scripture says: “Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.” (St. Matt. vi. 21.) Ask yourself whether the heart of Jesus is indeed your spiritual dwelling-place, whither you betake yourself for rest and refreshment in preference to any other, or whether you have treasures elsewhere, treasures to which your heart fondly clings, and thus the sacred heart of Jesus was pierced and opened for you in vain.
3d. Consider that as God took a rib out of Adam’s side when he was asleep in the Garden of Eden, and out of it formed Eve, the mother of our physical existence, so on this day the side of the second Adam, sleeping upon the cross, was opened in order that the Church, our spiritual Mother, may find therein the source whence she derives her life and vigor in the holy sacraments, which are symbolized by the blood and water flowing from the Saviour’s riven side. It is by the water of the holy sacraments that we are cleansed from our transgressions, and it is by the blood of Jesus that our souls are nourished and preserved to life eternal, pre-eminently in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar which was instituted on this day, and in which it flows continually. The soldier’s lance opened to us this perennial spring, whence the holy sacraments flow. Rise up then, my soul; go down this very day into the true pool of Siloe, cleanse yourself in its purifying, its healing waters, by virtue of which you may appear clean and whole on the approaching festival of Easter.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Of supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.
IV. Be thou, therefore, ready prepared to fight, if thou desirest to gain the victory.
Without fighting, thou canst not obtain the crown of patience.
If thou wilt not suffer, thou refusest to be crowned; but if thou desirest to be crowned, fight manfully, and endure patiently.
Without labour there is not coming to rest, nor without fight can the victory be obtained. – Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt. IV.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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