Jesus had breathed forth His last sigh on the hard wood of the cross, and there only remained on Calvary, Mary, the mother of the Savior, Mary Magdalen, and the apostle St. John. Represent to yourself this little group, and imagine that you stand amongst them. A soldier arrives, he draws near, and gazes on the lifeless body of Jesus. "He is dead," he exclaims, "but I will strike him once more;" and aiming his spear at the right side of the Redeemer, he pierces it, and the sharp point of the lance enters in and opens that divine Heart. As he withdraws the weapon, water and blood gush forth from the wound: "Exivit sanguis et aqua." In the words of St. John: "Immediately there came out blood and water" (John, xix. 34). These were the last tears, the last drops of blood from the Sacred Heart: truly a miracle of love, a mystery which contains in itself many mysteries! St. Bernard says: "Jesus willed that His Heart should be wounded, in order that through the visible wound we might contemplate the invisible wound of love." He willed that His Heart should be pierced, so that we might enter without hindrance, and find there both a shelter and a refuge. This adorable Heart, open to all, will never be closed; just and sinners can take shelter there without fear of being rejected. Wounds inflicted on the dead can never heal; that in the Heart of Jesus was made by death and love, and it will ever remain open to proclaim to all succeeding generations, that it was thus that the Saviour loved mankind: Sic dilexit. This wound is a fruitful source of graces; the water which burst forth, the blood which flowed from it, are the types of the precious favors of mercy and love. Let us, then, go and there seek the assistance of which we stand in need; if we are weak, this Heart will be our strength; if we are blind, It will be our light; if we are sorrowful, It will be our consolation. Let us exclaim with St. Gertrude: "O my Jesus! my sweetest hope, may Thy divine Heart transfixed for me, be the sure refuge of my soul! I implore Thee, by Thy wounded Heart, to pierce mine with the sword of Thy love."
Christians, is not this sacred wound in the Heart of Jesus, and its last outpouring of blood, the great resource reserved for the fearful evils of our century? Is it not time to appeal to it, to take possession of and employ it for the deliverance of the Church, of our country, of society, and above all of poor sinners? Let us enter this very day into the divine Heart; Jesus Himself invites us, saying, as He formerly did to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: "Behold the place of thy abode." Let us there remain for the rest of our lives, so that at death we may be able to say with Father de Ravignan: "How glorious a gate by which to enter heaven is the wound of the Heart of Jesus!"
Towards the end of the eleventh century our forefathers, obedient to the voice of the Sovereign Pontiff, formed the noble design of checking the barbarity of the Turks, who threatened to overran Europe, and to deliver from their power the sepulchre of Jesus Christ. After several splendid victories the Christians took possession of Antioch, the capital of the East, where however they were soon besieged by the Prince of Mossoul at the head of three-hundred thousand men. Driven to desperation by hunger, the hitherto brave soldiers felt, for the first time, their courage give way. It is related, in the history of the Church, that a holy priest of Marseilles, named Bartholomew, was inspired to seek in a particular spot for the lance which pierced the Heart of the Savior, the finding of which would be a certain pledge of the complete triumph of the Christians over the enemy’s forces. The lance was found, and preceded by this glorious token of victory the Crusaders issued forth from Antioch. At the sight of the sacred spear the Turkish troops were seized with a sudden panic; the weapons fell from their hands, they fled on all sides, and the countless dead that lay on the ground testified to their entire defeat.
From whence had the lance of Calvary drawn its strength and power? From the Heart of Jesus, which it had pierced; from that precious Blood which it had caused to flow, and with which it was empurpled. O happy lance! had I been in your place, I should never have wished to leave my Savior’s side; I would have said: "This shall be my rest for ever." But what wonders will not the Heart of Jesus effect when It deigns to dwell in our own hearts in Holy Communion? By It we shall conquer all the enemies of our salvation, and obtain the crown of the blessed in heaven.
O Heart of my beloved Jesus! the refuge opened for me by the lance, and where I need no more fear either divine vengeance or the fury of hell; permit me to hide myself in Thee and there forget the world and myself: there let me rest after the weary toils of life, and there let me lose myself for time and eternity. Amen.
Spend a few moments each day prayerfully resting in the wound in the Sacred Heart.