Sacred Heart of Jesus: February 2007 Archives

Draw Me to Thy Open Side

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In response to the Holy Father's invitation to contemplate the wounded Side of Christ, I offer my own translation of a prayer "Alla Piaga Del Costato di Gesù," To the Wound in Jesus' Side, composed by the Servant of God Father Eustachio Montemurro (1857–1923). The Venerable Eustachio of Jesus and Mary, a physician and a civic leader, a man of noble ideals and courageous initiatives, became a priest at forty–five years of age, desiring to bringing healing to souls as well as to bodies. Shortly thereafter he founded two religious congregations: The Little Brothers of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Sisters Missionaries of the Sacred Side.

The holy founder was accused of "an excess of zeal" and, for the good of the institutes he had established, chose to exile himself from his spiritual sons and daughters. With the permission of the Pope, he moved to the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary of Pompei, founded by Blessed Bartolo Longo, to devote himself selflessly to the service of souls. Father Montemurro died at Pompei on January 2, 1923, loved by all, and leaving a reputation for holiness.

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O painless thrust of the spear
forever awaited with passionate love by my Saviour
that thou shouldst repair in the Father's sight
the terrible wound opened by the sin of Adam
in the heart of humanity!

O glorious wound,
gushing forth life, love, and peace!
I adore thee inexhaustible wellspring of salvation,
the womb of new children
born of the water and of the blood of the Bridegroom.
Thou art for me an ever open refuge,
the door giving access to the nuptial chamber,
the vestibule of the banquet of the Lamb.

The living water that, at every moment, springs from thee,
invites me with the language of love
to enter, through thee, into the heart of my Saviour
that therein I might take the regenerating rest of new life
and spread it all about me
just as the bride coming forth from the nuptial chamber
radiates among her friends the signs and the sweetnesses of love.

Be thou for me, then, O blessed wound,
my blissful abode.
May I be drawn always to thee,
that in thee I may live and die.
In thee may I find the splendid riches
which eye has never seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart experienced.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
glory of my mind, joy of my eyes,
melody of my ears, gladness of my heart,
and peace of my soul.

I am Thine for time and for eternity;
nothing shall ever separate me from Thee,
for Thou hast espoused me,
drawing me with bands of goodness to Thy open side
and pouring out of Thy heart into mine
the joys of the Spirit
and the mercy of the Father who always hears Thee.

First Friday of Lent

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I heard a frightful amount of banging about outside my cell during the work period this morning. "The postulants are moving furniture again," I thought, "or doing some serious housecleaning." When I left my cell for Sext what did I see in our corridor? An immense 19th century statue of the Sacred Heart!

The statue was retrieved from a storage room where it shared space with enormous portaits of dead abbots. (That often happens in monasteries. Portraits of long dead abbots and other things are put in storage for years, sometimes for generations, and then reappear. At the same time other things disappear.)

I am pleased to be living now in the corridoio del Sacro Cuore: a suitable surprise on this First Friday of Lent.

I did not forget about the birthday of the Venerable John Henry Newman on Wednesday of this week. I just didn't have time to post anything about it. Cardinal Newman was born on February 21, 1801.

As I have mentioned before on Vultus Christi, Newman, in 1847, lived here at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in the rooms just above me, and descended into the basilica by the very staircase I now use several times a day. Given the arrival of the Sacred Heart on our corridor, I think it fitting to present Newman's exquisite prayer to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus:

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O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus,
Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still.
Now as then Thou savest,
Desiderio desideravi—"With desire I have desired."
I worship Thee then with all my best love and awe,
with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will.
O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee,
to eat and drink Thee,
and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me,
O make my heart beat with Thy Heart.
Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual,
all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity,
of all disorder, of all deadness.
So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day
nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it,
but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace.

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The coincidence of the Holy Father's Lenten Message with the liturgical memorial of Saint Claude La Colombière prompts me to post an article that I wrote in May 2005. In June of the same year, it was published in the Italian, English, and Portuguese editions of L'Osservatore Romano.

Toward A Theology of the Sacred Heart

“Knowing the Mystery of God in the Pierced Heart of the Crucified”

“In the pierced heart of the Crucified, God’s own heart is opened up — here we see who God is and what he is like. Heaven is no longer locked up. God has stepped out of his hiddenness. That is why St. John sums up both the meaning of the Cross and the nature of the new worship of God in the mysterious promise made through the prophet Zechariah (cf. 12:10). ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced’ (Jn 19:37).”

Pope Benedict XVI: Theologian of the Heart of Christ

In July of 1985, I was standing in the bookstore of the Abbey of Sainte-Cécile of Solesmes in France when, by a wonderful providence of God, I met the Benedictine scholar, Mother Elisabeth de Solms. The encounter remains unforgettable. I had long studied and used her admirable translation of the Life and Rule of Saint Benedict, as well as her Christian Bible, a series of volumes setting the commentaries of the Church Fathers line by line alongside the Scriptures. The simplicity of so great a woman was a marvel. She engaged me in conversation, asking if I had read the works of Cardinal Ratzinger. I admitted that I was familiar with certain writings of his, surely not with everything published. “Read him,” she said. “You will see. God will make of him a great gift to his Church.” That was twenty years ago.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

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