Praying the Holy Hour on Thursday evening, I sang, quietly to myself, in Latin, the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
And the refrain: ‘Cor Jesu, lancea perforatum, misere nobis’ (Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, Have mercy on us) remained with me, resounding in my heart.
I then gazed up at a beautiful old crucifix above the tabernacle.
As I beheld Our Lord hanging there upon the cross, in total submission to the Father’s will, ‘jusque ad mortem obediens factum’ (obedient unto death), I imagined the moment His Sacred Heart was pierced with the lance.
And how the Precious Blood and water poured out from His Holy Wound.
And in that sacred moment, pierced, hanging, dead upon the Cross, as the fullness of life radiated out of His holy person, He gave us everything.
Everything was born from Him.
Thus, from His Sacrifice, death became life.
With the pouring forth of His Precious Blood, Sanctifying Grace gushed into the world, cleansing us of our sin.
As He gave us His mercy, His love, His Body, His Blood, His humility, His Glory – all that we need to be reunited to the Father – the fullness of all the gifts of His Eternal Sacrifice were realised.
Thus, the opening of His Heart gave birth to Holy Church, the Body through which we would receive sanctifying grace, the means of our salvation.
‘For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the “wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.’ (From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Sacrosanctum Concilium 5).
As I pondered these things before the tabernacle, before the crucifix, Holy Mass began.
Then, the priest having uttered the words of consecration: ‘Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi at aeterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum’ (For this is the chalice of my blood, of the new and eternal testament: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins) raised the chalice.
As he did so, I gazed up again at the crucifix above him and once more imagined the Precious Blood pouring from Our Lord’s Sacred Heart, this time, into the chalice.
‘Be mindful, O Lord, of thy creature whom thou hast redeemed by Thy Most Precious Blood’. (Traditionally, the faithful were encouraged to silently pray these words at the elevation of the chalice.)
As His Blood and Water poured forth, all that Jesus had preached and foretold throughout His entire Incarnation, was in those moments realised.
And I am struck by the relevance of this small passage from Bl. Columba Marmion that I read today, as I write:
‘The Sacrifice of Jesus, because it is His essential work, is the culminating point towards which all the mysteries of His earthly life converge, and the source whence all the states of His glorious life derive their splendour.’ (Christ in His Mysteries, p. 75.)
Thus, in this eternal moment, the Word Incarnate bears the fullness of all He is – Divine Infant, High Priest, Mediator, Sacrifical Lamb, Victim, Ruler of Heaven and earth, King of Eternal Glory, Head of Holy Church.
And day in, day out, He feeds the members of His Body, with Divine nourishment – His very own Flesh and His very own Blood, poured out for our salvation.