Heart of Jesus, bruised for our sins, have mercy on us… -from the Sacred Heart Litany
“Unlike all the teachings of our Lord, unlike the revelation of his mission, the theme of the words on the Cross is neither revelation of divine truth nor self-revelation….The theme here is the redeeming passion, so that many of the words of Christ are directed to his heavenly Father (see the passion narratives in the synoptic gospels – jc). We are allowed to witness this most sublime mysterious event, this most intimate divine action in which the redeeming passion alone is the theme. Yet it is precisely here that the mystery of suffering, destitution, and obedience unto death reveals, in a certain way, more of his Sacred Heart than any word in which Christ addressed himself explicitly to mankind….In the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Lord’s passion plays a central role. There is, indeed, a deep and essential relation between the heart and the capacity to suffer, and the entire passion is an unveiling of the secrets of the Sacred Heart.” -Dietrich VonHildebrand, p.105, The Heart
Remarkably, Magnificat’s Morning Prayer on September 23, the day I began to write this post, centered on Christ’s passion, citing a great hymn by Isaac Watts and a reading from Isaiah 52 an 53, portion of which I want to share with you in a particular way here, for your own meditation:
When I survey the wondrous cross / On which the Prince of Glory died, / My richest gain I count but loss / And pour contempt on all my pride. “….many were astonished at him–his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men–so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him….
See, from His head, His hands, His feet, / Sorrow and love flow mingled down. / Did e’er such love and sorrow meet / Or thorns compose so rich a crown? “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all….
Were the whole realm of nature mine / That were a tribute far too small; / Love so amazing, so divine, / Demands my soul, my life, my all. “….when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of his soul and be satisfied….”
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” Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). In this supreme moment, Christ speaks as the Son of Man, in contrast to all the situations in which, speaking as the Son of God, he pardons sinnners himself. Yet in asking God to pardon his enemies, Christ implicitly forgives them the injury done to him. This is a human forgiving, the same forgiveness which Christ commands us to have. But above all, we are confronted with his ultimate merciful charity; Christ not only asks God to pardon his murderers, he even excuses them on account of their ignorance. The Son of Man places, as it were, his protecting arms before his murderers. We are deigned to witness in the Sacred Heart the glory of merciful charity and sublime forgiveness. Cor Jesu, fons totius consolationis, miserere nobis, ‘Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.'” – The Heart, p.105
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When we meet in our book study group on the ferry on October 2, I will share with you a number of important details concerning St. John’s account of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, from the Ignatius Study Guide notes. Shalom, jc