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Christ’s Sacred Heart
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.
Opening Prayer: Sacred Heart of Jesus, I adore you. I pray with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: “From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before you, O Most Sacred, Divine, and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay to you all the homage of love, praise, and adoration in my power. Amen.”
- Fount of Mercy: After Christ’s death, the signs of God’s Divine Mercy–blood and water–flowed from his precious body. A key prayer in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is “O blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you!” From Christ’s suffering and death sprung the fount of the water and blood of his mercy. The Church and her first sacraments were born at this moment from Christ’s side, just as a baby is born with a gush of water and blood: the waters of baptism to cleanse us from sin and the blood of the New Covenant to nourish us. In turn, the Church cares for us like a newborn child with great love and mercy. Through her sacraments, she bathes us with baptism and reconciliation, and feeds us with the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
- Water of Life: The flood of water that flowed from Christ’s side was prefigured by the flood in Genesis that washed away the sin of the world (cf. Genesis 7). The water that flowed is the same water that flowed when Moses struck the rock at Horeb, giving drink to the thirsty Israelites wandering in the desert (Genesis 17:6). This water that flowed was living water, the same living water that is a “spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This water of life became the waters of baptism, from which we are born of water and spirit: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:6). May the water from Christ’s side wash and cleanse us from all our sins and bring us to eternal life with him.
- Blood of the Covenant: The blood that flowed from Christ’s side is the blood of the New Covenant. In fact, Christ’s blood ratifies and seals this covenant. In Hebrews, St. Paul explained how Christ secures our salvation by becoming both the priest and sacrifice of this New Covenant (cf. Hebrews 9:11-15). He goes on to establish Jesus as the “mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15). When we eat and drink the holy sacrifice of his Body, we are participating in the altar of the covenant (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16-18). In this sacrament, we are purified of our sin and imbued with God’s spirit. He comes to dwell in us through our partaking of his Body and Blood. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote, “When we receive Christ with interior devotion, his blood, full of warmth and glory, flows into our veins and a fire is enkindled in our depths.”
Conversing with Christ: Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me. Pierced for my transgressions, hide me within your open wounds. You bled for me; you burn for me. May I, too, bleed and burn for souls through acts of love and mercy. May I love and serve you and my neighbors as you commanded me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a loving act of devotion to your most Sacred Heart.
For Further Reflection: Pray with these beautiful prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Franciscan Media. There are prayers for times of stress, forgiveness, and those who are addicted, among others.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.