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Devotion to the Sacred Heart

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A 31-day devotional written by Carthusians

Eve of the First Day

Three Lessons from the Heart of Jesus

There are three that give testimony on earth; the spirit, and the water, and the blood.
                                                                                                            1 St. John 5: 8

"One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side" (St. John 19: 34). From this last circumstance of our Savior's Passion we learn three useful lessons.

First we learn that if, by renouncing the world and sin, we are truly dead with Jesus Christ, we must be wounded with Him by the sharp spear of Divine love. This is the sentiment with which the Bridegroom in the Canticle exclaims: "Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse" (Canticle of Canticles 4: 9). And it was in the same way that St. Augustine desired to be wounded when he said: "O my sweet Savior, by the life-giving Wounds Thou hast received on which have shed Thy Precious Blood for our redemption, pierce, I beseech Thee, my sinful soul for which Thou hast vouchsafed to die; pierce it through and through with the burning darts of Thy supreme charity. I beseech Thee, most merciful Lord, so to penetrate my heart with the flaming arrows of Thy mighty love, that tears of devout tenderness may spring abundantly from this blessed wound. Strike, O good Jesus, this hard and unfeeling heart of mine with the irresistible force of Thy holy love, so that it alone may fill my thoughts and my affections." Thus speaks St. Augustine.

From this same event of the Passion we also learn, according to St. John Chrysostom, that we should receive the Sacraments of the Church with the same fervor and devotion as if they still flowed for us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. The Wound of His Heart is the source of the Sacraments. As Eve was formed from the side of the first Adam sleeping in Paradise, so our mother the Church received life by means of the Blood and the Water which flowed from the sacred Side of the second Adam sleeping on the Cross.

Finally we learn that we must conform our wills to the will of God by accepting all things that are pleasing to Him. Why indeed was the Heart of Jesus wounded for us with this Wound of love? It was in order that we might enter through the door of His Side into His Divine Heart. There we can return Him love for love; there we can unite our love to His love, so that both may form but one, as white-hot iron in a furnace forms a portion of the fire which consumes it. Since Jesus has suffered His holy Hands and Feet to be pierced for love of us, we ought, for love of Him, to consecrate to Him our hands and feet by offering Him all our affections and our actions. Above all we should offer our hearts to God by conforming our will to His, in gratitude for this Wound of love which Jesus Christ received for us upon the Cross, when His most sweet Heart was pierced through with the dart of an insuperable love. St. Augustine had entered the Heart of Jesus by this Wound when he said: "Longinus with his spear has opened for me the Side of Jesus Christ; I have entered there, and there I repose securely. The nails and lance cry out that I am risen with Him if I give Him all my love."
Let us then bear in mind, Christian souls, the very great love Jesus has shown towards us by allowing His Side to be opened wide in order that we might have easy access to His Heart. Let us hasten to enter into the Heart of Jesus, bringing there all our love, and uniting it to His Divine love. Our most loving Jesus draws from His Heart the Sacraments which open for us the gates of everlasting life; let us then address Him thus: --O Jesus, after
dying for us on the Cross, Thou didst will that Thy Side should be opened by a spear, so that blood and water, emblems of the Sacraments, might flow out. Wound, I beseech Thee, my heart with the spear of Divine love, that I may merit to receive with good dispositions the Sacraments which flow from Thy most holy Side. In opening Thy Heart, Thou hast set ajar for Thine elect the door of everlasting life. Thou, O Lord, art this door through which the just shall pass in. Blot out, I beseech Thee, mine iniquities, or they will close for me the door reserved by Thy care for truly penitent sinners.

Our superabundant redemption springs from the pierced Heart of Jesus. Its source is found there as a hidden treasure. Shall not then this wounded Heart of Jesus wound our hearts? Shall we not feel compassion for Him? Shall we not love Him? It is evident that "with the Lord there is mercy and with Him plentiful redemption--apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud eum redemptio"(Psalm 129: 7). Yes, most plentiful ! It was not a few
drops, but streams of Blood, which flowed from His five Wounds. He shed it all to the last drop. The Blood circulating under the skin flowed in the scourging, that of the Head in the crowning with thorns, that of the veins when His Feet and Hands were pierced. A few drops still remained in the Breast and in the Heart of Jesus, but they gushed out when the soldier pierced His Side.

Born in Saxony, about 1295.
Carthusian at Strasburg.
Died in 1378.

First Day

All Graces Come From the Heart of Jesus

Out of the good treasure of his heart he bringeth forth that which is good.
                                                                                                 St. Luke 6: 45

If you wish to be easily and thoroughly cleansed from sin, freed from all your imperfections, and enriched with many graces, you must cut off all unnecessary occupations, and surrender yourself to the eternal charity which is taught by the Holy Ghost, in order to become its disciple. Without any effort of the imagination, but by the sole force of the mind and the will, frequently offer, give up, and cast your heart and soul into the most sweet Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Creator, your Redeemer, your crucified Friend--into His Heart so full of love; into His Heart, the abode of the most Holy Trinity; into His Heart, where "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally" (Colossians 2: 9); into His Heart, through which "we have access both in one Spirit to the Father" (Ephesians 2: 18); into His Heart, finally, which, in Its infinite love, contains and embraces all the elect in Heaven and on earth.

Lift up your heart to the bountiful Heart of your God, taking care above all to be very recollected at all times and in all places, especially when you are singing the Divine praises, and during your prayers and other exercises. Thus God commands you in these or similar words: "Come unto me, and take my yoke upon you (St. Matthew 11: 28,29). Give me thy heart, and let thine eyes keep My ways (Proverbs 23: 26). Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm." (Canticle of Canticles 8: 6). Let your humble reply be: "My heart is ready (Psalm 107: 2), I will extol Thee, O God my King, and will bless Thy name forever, yea forever and ever (Psalm 144: 1); I will lift up my hands and my heart unto Thee." And is not this His right since all virtues are found in the Heart of Jesus? There we find mercy, justice, meekness, strength. There we find salvation, the fountain of life, perfect consolation, "the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world" (St. John 1: 9), especially the man who makes this Divine Heart his refuge in trials and sorrows. Truly, all the blessings we can desire come most abundantly from Jesus, and every grace we receive is poured out upon us from no other source than that of His Heart sweeter than honey. His Heart is the furnace of Divine love, always burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit and purifying, kindling and transforming into Himself all who yield themselves to Him, or who wish to be His.

Since all good flows from the most sweet Heart of Jesus, you must offer back to His Heart all the gifts, graces and blessings which have been bestowed upon you and upon all men. You should do this for the greater glory of God and for the benefit of the Holy Church, not attributing to yourself anything of the good you may have done, nor regarding with self-satisfaction the gifts of God, but ascribing all to Him, and returning all to their original source, which is the Heart of Jesus. Make this offering especially when you say the Gloria Patri or recite psalms and hymns which speak of the glory of God.

Place all your sins in the Heart of Jesus. Through that Heart you should ask for grace and pardon, and should praise and bless God, not only for yourself, but for all who are committed to your care and for the whole Catholic Church, whose triumph you desire, invoking from the depth of your misery the depth of God's mercy ("Deep calleth on deep" Psalm 41: 8). Out of gratitude you will then often kiss a picture of the Heart of Jesus (This passage shows us that pictures of the Sacred Heart were not unknown in the fifteenth century), of this most kind Heart, of this Heart in which are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God (Colossians 2: 3). If you have not a picture of the Sacred Heart, you can make use of one of Jesus on the Cross.

Desire unceasingly to behold your Savior face to face. Confide to Him your troubles. Draw His Heart into yours, with Its spirit and Its love, Its graces and Its virtues. Abandon yourself lovingly to It in sorrow and in joy. Confide in It and cling to It. Dwell in the Heart of Jesus, being "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4: 3), so that He in turn may vouchsafe to take up His abode within your heart. Lastly, sleep and take your rest in the Heart of Jesus. The hearts of mortals will prove false or will forsake you; but the most faithful Heart of Jesus will never abandon you.

Do not neglect moreover to honor devoutly and to invoke the glorious Mother of God, the Mother of mercy, the most sweet Virgin Mary, that she may vouchsafe to obtain for you from the most sweet Heart of her Son all that you need. Offer what you have received to the Heart of Jesus through the blessed hands of His Mother. Beseech her maternal goodness to help you, so that, with all the saints and elect of God, you may praise and bless the Lord for all the benefits He has bestowed upon you down to the present time, and for all those He will grant to all eternity. Amen.

Dom Dominic of Treves
Born in Prussia in 1384.
Carthusian of Sierk and of Treves.
Died in 1461.

Second Day

What the Heart of Jesus Contains

I have loved thee with an everlasting love.
                                                         Jeremiah 31: 3

In order that your soul may be inflamed with the fire of Divine love, I will give you three burning coals which will kindle in you this very desirable flame. They are three meditations that you should make:

The first is on what Jesus Christ is to you as God and man, namely, supremely worthy of your love. The second is on what Jesus Christ is to you if you consider what He has done for your sake; for in all His acts we find proofs of an incomprehensible love. The third is on what the Heart of Jesus feels for you; and that is a love which is transcendent and infinite.

We have not in any way deserved the love that Jesus our most affectionate friend gives us so freely. This love is incomprehensibly great. It is altogether boundless. That your soul may be more and more filled with the fire of Divine love, know that the Sacred Heart, the tender Heart of Jesus, is filled for you with so immense, so excessive, so incomprehensible a love, both human and Divine, that it greatly surpasses all that men and Angels could wish for or even imagine; for, I repeat it, this love is truly immense, being without limit and without end. The love of all mothers for an only son, compared to that of the Heart of Jesus, is but a little spark by the side of a vast conflagration. If all the love arising from natural attraction, relationship, or Divine grace, which is to be found in the hearts of all men upon earth and of all Angels and Saints in Heaven were gathered together and put into the heart of one mother for her only son, it would not bear any comparison to the love of our God for us.

It is quite certain that nothing in Heaven and on earth is better, more perfect, more desirable, sweeter and more amiable than the very faithful love of Jesus Christ. Is it not then surprising and enough to make one weep bitterly, to see how seldom and in how small a degree the love of our Lord Jesus Christ is found even in the hearts of many Christians? Perhaps you, dear reader, may be suffering from this unfortunate and dangerous error, and may not know the happiness and sweet joy that the friends of God experience even in this world. I therefore conclude by begging you to recall to mind the numerous and wonderful proofs your Creator and Redeemer has given you of His love. I ask you to observe that this most loving and most tender Heart burned for you with a love so free and so generous that truly one can say with St. John Chrysostom: "Plus quam amore tui ebrius et amens." Jesus is inebriated with love. He is foolish, if I may so speak, and more than foolish with love of souls! Ah! if it were possible that during this life, your heart could contain for Jesus a mere nothing of the love with which His Heart burns for you, it could not hold it; but kindled suddenly by so ardent a heat, your heart would be in flames; it would be torn and would break. I earnestly invite you to meditate very often and very attentively on what I have been saying.

Anonymous, of Treves
Translated into Latin from the old German
by Lawrence Surius the Carthusian (Cologne 1552)
from a manuscript dating back at least as far as
the first years of the fifteenth century.

Third Day

The Eternal Reward of the Friends of the Heart of Jesus

They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house.
                                                                    Psalm 35: 9

All that is in Thee, all that can be ascribed to Thee, O Lord, should be ascribed to Thee in the full extent of its perfection, excellence, and infinite pre-eminence.

As then Thou possessest all wealth and bounty, we know that Thy riches are inexhaustible, and that Thy desire to impart them in Thy generosity is without limit and immeasurable. If Thou rewardest, it is a liberality beyond our imagination; if Thou givest, it is with unlimited bounty. Thy rewards are always far greater than our merits. For a passing virtue Thou wilt bestow a happiness which will never pass away. For a very slight service rendered Thee, Thou givest so great a recompense that Thy servants will be perfectly satisfied, and all their desires will be fully realized. Thou givest so amply that the greatness and depth of Thy rewards will be equal to their duration. Hence the hearts of Thine elect--those human hearts which out of Thee cannot find their rest--will become, in Heaven, like unto Thy Heart. There they will enjoy an unchangeable and endless security. They will repose in Thee.

O Lord Almighty, Thou art truly the infinitely loving and amiable guest of the virtuous soul, which, after having served Thee faithfully and generously during the long exile, the painful journey, the hard bondage of this life, returns to Thee, the Father, the King and the Judge of the living and the dead. Oh how lovingly and kindly, with what readiness and fatherly goodness dost Thou receive the souls who, notwithstanding temptations, trials and persecutions, have always served Thee faithfully and have persevered to the end in Thy service! Then Thou pourest into their bosom the measure of which the Gospel speaks, "good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over" (St. Luke 6: 38). They have esteemed and loved Thee above all things; and in return Thou givest them Thyself, Thou revealest Thyself clearly, Thou showest to them Thy great beauty and all the riches of Thy glory; Thou bringest them to Thy Heart, and castest them into the center thereof, into the bosom of Thy love, into the unfathomable depth of Thy mercy. There, in Thy Heart, Thou makest known clearly how tenderly Thou hast loved them from all eternity, and how great has been Thy mercy in choosing them to enjoy unspeakable blessedness, in having predestined them to see, to praise, and to love Thee forever.

Denys the Carthusian
Born in Belgium, about 1402;
died at the Charterhouse of Roermond, in 1471.

Fourth Day

Heart Attracts Heart

I will draw them with the cords of Adam,with bands of love.
                                                                                 Hosea 11: 4

"Videte manus meas et pedes (St. Luke 24: 39). . . et latus (St. John 24: 39) --See my hands and feet. . . and side," adds St. John the Apostle. But why speak of this Wound in His Side, since our Lord did not receive it until after His death, and consequently suffered no pain therefrom?

In answer to this question, I should observe, in the first place, that the Blessed Virgin and St. John were deeply afflicted by this act of useless cruelty. This accounts for that Apostle alone making mention of this Wound, and for his being the only one to mention the fact that from the Side of Jesus, there came out blood and water (St. John 19: 34).

Secondly, I should say that there was good reason for this Wound, for from the Side of Jesus the Sacraments receive their efficacy; and from the Side of Jesus, sleeping in death on the Cross, the Church was formed, as Eve had been formed from Adam's rib while he was sunk in a mysterious sleep.

Thirdly, I would observe that, before His death, Jesus knew that, after death, He would receive this Wound, and that this knowledge made Him suffer as keenly in anticipation as if His Side had already been pierced. Did not the thought alone of the sufferings of His Passion cause Him such bitter grief in the Garden of Olives, that He shed a sweat of blood?

See My Hands, My Feet and My Side, that is to say, see the deep Wounds to be found there. This invitation contains an important lesson. Here is what we may learn from it:--

Has our love for our Lord Jesus Christ grown cold? Let us look at His Side, pierced and open for us, and suddenly the fire of love will be kindled again in our soul, for this opened Heart must needs inflame with love the soul that contemplates It. Should courage fail us when we have some work to do, let us look at the wounded Hands of Jesus. Should we feel weak when we have afflictions to bear, let us contemplate the Feet of Jesus, pierced with nails and bathed in blood. Yes, let us look at those Feet which support the weight of the whole Body.

For this reason the Holy Ghost says to us in the Canticle: "Come, O my dove, into the clefts of the rock" (Canticle of Canticles 2: 13,14), come into the Wounds of Jesus Christ. There you can repose without fear, for no enemy will dare to pursue you into this retreat. Let us take refuge with the same motive in the Wounds of Jesus Christ at the hour of our death. Nothing could be more beneficial for us. Let the Wounds of Jesus be our dwelling-place. Let us mark the threshold and the posts of the door with the Blood of the true Paschal Lamb, and the destroying Angel, seeing this Divine Blood, will not strike us.

Dom James of Clusa
Mitred Abbot of the Cistercian Order,
afterwards a Carthusian at Erfurt.
Died in 1466

Fifth Day

The Heart of Jesus the City of Refuge

Be thou unto me a house of refuge.
                                                  Psalm 30: 3

O Lord Jesus Christ, inexhaustible fountain of love and of grace, I praise and thank Thee for the Wound of Thy most holy Side, received after Thy death; for then, O Saint of saints, was Thy right Side so deeply pierced by the soldier's spear, that the point of the iron penetrated through Thy Breast even to the midst of Thy tender Heart, and from this large Wound began to flow for us the healing stream of blood and water which fertilizes the earth and saves the world. O beneficent and wonderful shedding of blood from the Side of Jesus slumbering on the Cross in the sleep of death for the redemption of the human race! O most pure and sweet stream of water, coming from our Savior's Breast to wash away all our stains!

Moses, in the desert, struck the rock, and there came out a refreshing water intended simply for the use and comfort of the people of Israel and their flocks; but when the fearless soldier Longinus with his sturdy hand struck the rock with the spear, that is to say, when he cleft the right Side of Christ, there came out, then and evermore, a mysterious fountain of water and of blood from which our chaste Mother, the holy Catholic Church, draws her saving Sacraments. Eve was called the mother of all the living, and was formed from a rib of her husband, Adam. The holy Church militant is called the mother of all who are living by faith, and she is formed from the Side of Christ her Spouse.

O great, precious and loving Wound of my Savior, thou art deeper than all the others, and opened so wide that the faithful can enter in! O Wound from which flow unlimited and endless blessings, Wound of the Side inflicted the last, but become nevertheless the most celebrated! Whosoever drinks deeply from the holy and Divine source of this Wound, or takes even a few drops, will forget all his ills, will be set free from the thirst for fleeting and vile pleasures, will be inflamed with the love of eternal and heavenly things, and filled with the unutterable sweetness of the Holy Spirit. Then will flow into his soul "a fountain of water springing up into life everlasting" (St. John 4: 14).

Enter, O my soul, enter into the right Side of Thy crucified Lord. Enter through this blessed Wound into the center of the all-loving Heart of Jesus, pierced through and through out of love for thee. Take thy rest in the clefts of the Rock sheltered from the tempests of the world. Enter into Thy God! Covered with herbage and fragrant flowers, the path of life lies open before thee. This is the way of salvation, the bridge leading to Heaven.

The Heart of Jesus is the city of refuge in which we are safe from the pursuit of the enemy. It is the city of refuge which defends us from the wrath of an angry Judge. This Heart is the inexhaustible fountain of the oil of mercy for truly penitent sinners. This Heart is the source of the Divine river springing up in the midst of Paradise to water the surface of the earth, to quench the thirst of the dry and barren human heart, to wash away sin, to extinguish the unholy fires of concupiscence, to regulate the flights of the imagination and to allay the fierceness of anger. Draw near then and take the draught of love from this fountain of the Savior, in order that thou mayest no longer live to thyself, but in Him Who was crucified for thee. Give thy heart to Him, for He has opened His Heart to thee. Give not thy heart to the world, but to Christ thy Lord. Give it not to vain worldly wisdom, but to the eternal Wisdom. Where canst thou rest more peacefully, dwell more securely, or sleep more sweetly than in the Wounds of Christ crucified for thee?

O all-glorious and most amiable Jesus, Creator of the mysterious and invisible world of grace, Thou guest of loving hearts, crucified example of souls crushed under the weight of the cross, Thou Who containest all the riches and all the gifts of Heaven; Jesus our King, Savior of the faithful, Who hast willed that Thy holy Side should be opened by the point of a ruthless lance, I humbly and fervently beseech Thee to open to me the doors of Thy mercy, and suffer me to enter through the large Wound of Thy adorable and most holy Side, into Thy infinitely loving Heart, so that my heart may be united to Thy Heart by an indissoluble bond of love. Wound my heart with Thy love. Let the soldier's spear penetrate my breast. Let my heart be opened to Thee alone and closed to the world and the devil. Protect my heart, and arm it against the assaults of its enemies by the sign of Thy holy Cross. Amen.

Anonymous Carthusian of Nuremberg
From a work printed in old German
at Nuremberg, by Hochfeder (1480).

Sixth Day

The Heart of Jesus Cannot Refuse Anything

Hath he not also, with him, given us all things?
                                                              Romans 8: 32

Behold and see, says our Lord Jesus Christ, what a painful position I am in upon the Cross. My Arms are extended in order to be always able to receive and embrace thee each time thou comest to Me. My Feet are nailed, that thou mayest know that I cannot, will not be parted from thee. My Hands, since they are pierced through and through, show thee that it would be impossible for them, even when closed, to withhold the favors thou desirest from Me. But understand that it is not the nails that fasten Me to the Cross and keep me there, but My love. I have loved thee from all eternity, and will love thee eternally if on thy side thou never ceasest to love Me. I will never forget thee. Deeply, carefully, and lovingly have I written thee in the Wounds of My Feet and Hands. I have even gone further. As though I were not satisfied with this, I have had My Side pierced by a soldier's spear in order to open wide for thee the entrance to My Heart, and to show thee how great was the love which led Me to die for thee.

Lastly, desiring more easily to attract and keep thee close to Me by the bonds of love, I have caused Blood and Water to flow from My Side after death. Blood to pay thy ransom, Water to wash away thy sins. In this way, by virtue of the Sacraments contained in this Blood and this Water, I have set thee free and renewed thy innocence.

Dom Henry Arnoldi
Prior of the Carthusians of Basle.
Died in 1487.

Seventh Day

The Soul in the Heart of Jesus

He that abideth in me, and I in him. . .
                                                       St. John 15: 5

"Arise (O soul) my love, my beautiful one, and come, my dove" (Canticle of Canticles 2: 13, 14). Arise that is to say, raise thyself up more and more, My love, by perfect charity, a virtue which united to holy prudence, makes thee beautiful in My sight. And come, My dove. Come with an upright intention that seeks not itself, but only My honor and My love. Come, "my dove", do not hover about at random, but come "in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall" (Canticle of Canticles 2: 14) of dry stones.

The Rock is Jesus Christ Himself; the holes therein are His Wounds, some of them large and others small, but very numerous. The wall spoken of here (maceria) is an enclosure or wall of dry stones, erected for the protection of the vines. This stone wall, without cement, is a symbol of Christ. He is composed of a body and a soul. His soul has all its faculties, His Body all its organs; but there is not mingled with them a mortar made of earth and mire, for in Christ there is no attachment to earthly things. This mystical wall shields the Vine, that is the holy Church, from the attacks of evil spirits. The Tower of Babel was built with cement, but the new and heavenly Jerusalem is built simply with square stones. As to this cavern, or hollow place in the symbolic wall (caverna macerioe), it is the opening in our Lord's Side.

The soul that would rise and ascend to its Well-beloved when pursued by the kites, vultures and other birds of prey, figures of evil spirits, should fly away as a timid dove, and take refuge in the clefts in the rock, namely in the Wounds of Jesus Christ, and above all in the hollow place, that is to say, in the Wound in the Side of Jesus and in His Heart. There she has nothing more to dread. If she builds her nest in the Heart of Jesus, if she there deposits her good works, there finds shelter, there rests and takes her sleep, the spirits of evil will never attempt to set their snares for her. They dare not draw near to the Wounds and the Heart of Jesus. That is why St. Augustine exclaims in his Manual: "In all my afflictions, I have found no remedy more efficacious than the Wounds of Jesus. In these Wounds I sleep in peace and repose without fear. A soldier has opened for me the
Side of Jesus; I have entered there, and there I take my rest."

O my beloved Jesus, how Thou hast loved me! Thou hast consented to have innumerable holes dug in this hard Rock which is Thy Body--holes in the depths of which I can hide myself. Yea more, Thou hast opened to me Thy Heart, that I may enter there at will. And so that I may be able more securely to come to Thee through Thy Passion and Thy Wounds, Thou dost stretch out Thine Arms and hasten to meet me, always ready to receive me as the hen gathers her little ones under her wings. Thou desirest me to come. Thou givest me this invitation: Veni, amica mea, soul that art My love, come, O dove, enter into My Wounds and into the hollow of My Heart. By this way thou canst without difficulty come unto Me, not by any other.

Dom Nicholas Kempf
Born at Strasburg, in 1393.
Carthusian in Austria.

Eighth Day

The Heart of Jesus is the Book of Divine Love

Eat this book. . .,and I did eat it; and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
                                                                                Ezekiel 3: 1, 3

"Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see (the King). . . in the day of the joy of his heart" (Canticle of Canticles 3:11). Carthusian soul, daughter of contemplation, come out of thyself, and behold Jesus crowned in the day of the joy of His Heart. The heart rejoices when its desires are fulfilled. And what does the Heart of Jesus desire? It desires our salvation, and finds Its happiness therein.

Our Lord has given us many proofs of the truth of His Resurrection in order to increase our faith and kindle our love. One of these is His having appeared to the disciples bearing the scars of His five Wounds. By this He has made known to us His love. See, He said, My Feet, My Hands and My Side; read in My Wounds, learn and understand how great is My love for you.

This mystic book--which is no other than Jesus Himself--is printed with the most precious Blood of God, and the types employed are the Savior's Wounds. Now Jesus gives the perusal of this book especially to His Carthusians. He wishes us to be the servants of His private apartments, and the interpreters of His most secret thoughts. He would have us Carthusians always in His presence, and chiefly occupied in reading this book of the Savior's Wounds.

Yes! read Jesus, relish this reading; and in each of the five Wounds read the incentive to and the means of leading a new life.

The scars of our Redeemer's Feet tell us to trample underfoot all that is human and earthly, so that we may love only those things which He loves.

The Wounds of the Hands of Jesus show us how He has acted. With one hand He took up obedience, and with the other patience. He worked for our salvation, "becoming obedient unto death; even to the death of the cross" (Philippians 2: 8).

In the Wound of the Side, which leads us to the Heart of Jesus, and is the outward representation of the Wound of that Heart, read the love of Jesus, a love that can never be surpassed by any other love. It is only in beholding this Wound of the Heart that you will realize the great love of God for you, and see how much Jesus has loved you, since He has given His life for us poor sinners.

Jesus risen shows to us this mortal Wound of His Heart. You who read there, profit thereby, and love Jesus with all your heart.

Dom Peter Bloemenvenna
Prior of the Carthusians of Cologne
from 1506 to 1536.

Ninth Day

How to Honor the Heart of Jesus

Burn my reins and my heart.
                                       Psalm 25: 2

Jesus to the faithful soul.--Christian Soul, I will teach thee how to honor My Wounds, particularly that of My Divine Heart which was wounded for love of thee. After My Resurrection, I showed the Wounds of My Hands, My Feet, and My Side to My Apostles, saying to them: See, handle, look at Me carefully. They did so without delay. Imitate them. If thou wouldst touch, in spirit, the Wound of My Side consider the deep gratitude the love of My Heart, which has led Me to choose thee from all eternity to be My child and the inheritor of My Kingdom. Think also of the innumerable graces with which I have unceasingly prevented thee, and how at this present time, notwithstanding thy very great ingratitude, I bestow many favors upon thee.

Then draw nigh to My Heart which loves thee so much, and has been wounded for thy sake. Salute It three times in thanksgiving for the abundant graces which I have poured out from all eternity, or do now, or ever shall pour out, with a love beyond measure, into the souls of all the elect. Thank Me also for having caused to spring from the life-giving Wound of My Heart the most precious Blood, which fills souls with sweetness and enriches them with all heavenly gifts.

Afterwards, offer Me this prayer: Lord of infinite mercy, through this Wound of intense love, through this Wound so great that it can contain the earth, the heavens, and all that is therein, I unite my love to Thy Divine love, in order that, in this way and by it, my love may be made perfect, may lose itself in Thine, and be blended with it as two metals liquefied by fire and mixed together form but one. May our two wills become only one, or rather, may mine be wholly united to and always in perfect conformity with Thine. Into the burning furnace of Thy Heart, into this Wound of love, I cast my affections, my inclinations, my thoughts, and my desires, that all that is covered with rust and defilement, all that is imperfect and in disorder, may be destroyed by the flames. Then will my heart, all cleansed and renewed, be wholly consumed in Thee and for Thee.

Contemplate next, Christian soul, the Wound which My Heart received; and kneeling before this Heart opened by the point of the spear, pray thus:--

O most sweet Jesus, most loving Lord, through Thy pierced Heart I beseech Thee so to pierce my heart with Thy love that it may no longer cling to earthly things, but may be possessed by Thy Divine power. Wound my heart with tenderness, O sweet Savior, so that in this wound all my affections may be united, and become wholly attached to Thee.

Now, Christian soul, I wish thee to know that, when I give thee this wound of love, thou wilt need (as for all wounds) water, ointment, and bandages. The water of devotion will cleanse the corruption of thy sins; and this devotion will spring up from continual contemplation of My loving Heart, suffering and wounded for thee upon the Cross. Charity will be the ointment; for charity produces fervor, and fervor spreads over all a sweetness beyond compare. Charity will also obtain for thee the bandage for thy wound; for love is mighty, and it will endue thee with strength sufficient to bind thyself to Me by a tie which cannot be broken.

Consider further, O My daughter, that two salutary streams have flowed from My most sweet loving Heart. The former is a stream of Blood, the latter a stream of Water. The stream of Blood brings to thee all the wealth of My burning love; the fountain of Water purifies thee, refreshes thy soul, and extinguishes in thee the fire of evil passions. May thy heart then be opened to receive and drink the Blood of the just Abel, which cries out efficaciously, and intercedes for thee! In My loving Wounds the sinner finds a sure refuge as in an impregnable fortress. My Wounds make known to him the greatness of My mercy. For this reason My Breast and My Heart were opened on the right side, where was the penitent thief, and not on the left side. My Wounds can obtain for thee everything that thou desirest or standest in need of. Open then, My daughter, with the key of love, the casket in which all heavenly treasures are enclosed, that is to say, My Divine Heart, and if temptations assail thee like so many robbers, have recourse to the arsenal of My most sweet Heart. Excellent and well-tempered weapons will be found therein.

My Wounds all speak of meekness, kindness, gentleness, and charity. They will tell thee how sweet, amiable and tender I am. They will teach thee how great is the love with which I am consumed. It would not be enough for My Heart to be inwardly all on fire with love. The flames must needs escape, and spread themselves abroad. The divine fire made a breach, through which it came out impetuously and penetrated into the hearts of men. My Heart was opened in order that pious souls might, like gentle doves, find their dwelling place in the clefts of the mystical Rock. Have I not kindly invited them by these words: Veni, columba mea, in foraminibus petroe (Canticle of Canticles 2: 14)? This is what I wished faithful souls to understand when I commanded My servant Noah to make a window or opening in the right side of the ark. The dove entered by that window, and was thus preserved from the waters of the flood.

Come! arise, My daughter and My dove; place thy heart upon the Wound of My Side; taste of My unspeakable sweetness, and draw from My Heart the healing waters of grace.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Tenth Day

The Heart of Jesus
The Center and Resting-Place of Hearts

My heart shall be there always.
                                              1 Kings 9: 3

O Lord Jesus, Thy odors, more penetrating than all the perfumes of earth, sweetly caress my senses now that they are set free from all desire for sensual and worldly enjoyments. Thy fragrance draws me after Thee with delightful force. It attracts me to Thee and into Thee. I throw off the weight of earthly affections, and I hasten to come unto Thee. I build my nest on the altar of Thy Heart, and deposit there the offspring of my soul, namely my works, my words, and my thoughts. I cast them into Thee, and Thou wilt sustain them. On the altar of Thy Heart, I find a safe haven, the tranquility of which rough winds can never disturb. Yes, I find in Thy Heart a resting-place, sheltered from the storm; and there do I experience pure delights which neither grow distasteful nor are liable to change. I find in Thy Heart a profound peace that cannot be troubled by discord, a joy that no
sadness can ever alter, an unclouded happiness, an unspeakable sweetness, a serene and perfect blessedness. In Thy Heart I find the beginning of every good thing, the fountain-head of all sweetness and all holy joy.

From Thy Heart, O God, Who art goodness itself, proceeds all happiness, sweetness, quietness, joy, peace, gladness, beatitude--in a word, all good gifts. They proceed from it, as from their only and inexhaustible source, to pass then into the hearts of all Thy children, who are the holy Angels and men. And what good could exist, and how could it be good, if it came not from Thee, O Lord, the true, the supreme, the only Good? Ah! how good it is to draw all that is good from this never failing fountain of the Sacred Heart! How good it is to be inebriated from this source of the most chaste and sweet enjoyments, from this stream which pours from its bosom an impetuous torrent of the holiest and purest pleasures! How perfect, how delightful and incomparable is the fragrance of the precious perfumes of Thy virtues, O my Jesus! It invites me to enter the sanctuary of Thy Sacred Heart. It attracts those whom it invites; it leads those whom it attracts, and deceives not those whom it leads. On the contrary, it fortifies them, so that henceforth they can without peril rest from their labors in the peace of Thy Heart.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Eleventh Day

Behold This Heart Which Has So Much Loved Men

I also have a heart as well as you.
                                                     Job 12: 3

In order to manifest more clearly His infinite love, Jesus has opened to us His Heart. It is to make us understand that all He has endured for us, He has endured just on account of the love with which His Heart was filled. After showing to us the pains suffered in His Body, Jesus wishes us also to see the love of His most merciful, most faithful, most loving Heart, which inspired Him with the desire and the necessity of suffering for us.

Again, He has opened to us His Heart in order that we may have a place of refuge in temptation, of consolation in sadness, of protection in trial, of safety in adversity, and of light in doubt. Indeed, to all who enter into this most beneficial Wound of His Heart, Jesus gives the sweetness of holy love, with salvation and eternal happiness.

The Wound of the Sacred Heart of Jesus teaches us to pray unceasingly that our hearts may be so pierced with the spear of charity, that tears of compunction and of divine love may be as a river always flowing in our souls.

The Wound of the Side, which is the Wound of the Heart, therefore makes known to us the warm-hearted charity of Jesus Christ, a love which sheds an ineffable radiance over all His actions, all His words, and all His sufferings, filling them with unspeakable sweetness.

O most sweet Jesus, in Heaven shall I find my delight in Thy most sweet Heart! How great, immeasurable, inexplicable and incomprehensible is the joy of the elect who read in this most perfect book of Thy Heart the infinite love Thou hast for them. They understand the fullness of Thy unfailing charity, which nothing can ever weaken, nothing ever destroy. Oh! how happy, and blessed is the mind to which Thou revealest so clearly and so unconstrainedly the secrets of Thy most sweet Heart! I will fall asleep in the Heart of Jesus, the source of supreme and true peace, the fountain whence springs and flows for my soul the endless tranquility which will set me free forever from the trials and sorrows of this life. And since I must soon leave this world, I will place in Jesus my desires, my thoughts and affections, by entering into His tender and loving Heart. There I will hide myself as in a sepulchre, and will rest in a sweet sleep. When, at length, I breathe my last, I will place my heart in His opened Side; I will confide my heart to His Heart.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Twelfth Day

What the Heart of Jesus Teaches Us

He showed them his hands, and his side.
                                                          St. John 20: 20

Videte manus et pedes...; et ostendit eis latus. See and read in this book of life what I have done for you, says our Lord, look at the many lessons I have taught you. See My Feet, My Hands, and My Side. Behold this open book of My Wounds, this book of the new Testament. My fives Wounds are like the five books of Moses. You read therein what I have done for you, and what you should do for Me in return.

It is not enough, dear Brothers, to read these touching words of our Lord, we should carefully consider what is written in His five Wounds. The Wound of the Side, that is to say, the Wound of the Heart, teaches us how great is the tender love of Jesus Christ. This love has imparted unspeakable radiancy and incomparable sweetness to all that He has said and done and suffered for us. The love of Jesus is very fervent and very deep. It is poured out on all men, even on those who are ungrateful and are His enemies; and this love has chosen the Wound of the Sacred Heart for its dwelling. No one was able to take away our Lord's life, but love conquered Him and constrained Him to deliver Himself up to death for us. Yet even death could not make His love to cease. Why indeed was His Heart opened with a spear after death, if not to point out to us this love, which determined Him to endure so many pains and such deep suffering for our sake?

And after His Resurrection, did Jesus say to His Apostles: Go and avenge Me? No, He said: Go ye, preach to every creature, and to those that believe, baptize. Baptize them with the Water which issued from My Side, which flowed from My Heart!

Therefore, dear Brothers, when your mind is filled with dangerous thoughts and evil inclinations, when you sigh under the weight of trouble, sadness and affliction, take refuge in the Wounds of Jesus, above all in that which opens to you the door of His Heart. Hide yourself in His Heart, cast yourself into It, cling to It; and the remembrance of so much loving kindness will make you forget your sorrows and your sufferings. If you would prove the efficacy of the divine remedy which I recommend, try for yourselves, and you will not regret it.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Thirteenth Day

The Heart of Jesus is a Sure Refuge

Be thou unto me a place of strength.
                                                     Psalm 70: 3

The Wound of the Heart of Jesus is for every one a sure refuge in all troubles. In every sorrow and affliction have recourse to this wounded Heart. Should pleasures entice you, or sadness overwhelm you, be not afraid, for there is a place of safety for you in the opened Heart of Jesus. Enter in, and there take refuge. The tempter cannot penetrate there. Evil cannot approach this sacred dwelling. In this inviolable sanctuary you can rest in peace.

Cast all your sins into this Wound, that through the loving kindness of Jesus Christ, they may be blotted out and destroyed. Hide your good works there, in order that the holiness of Jesus may keep and defend them. Bring into this Divine Heart all the gifts you have received from God, so that, under the protection of Jesus, they may become still greater. Learn to dwell in this Wound of the Side and the Heart of Jesus. If your soul is His friend and mystic spouse, where can it find a more noble, a more salutary, or a sweeter resting-place than in the Heart of Jesus? If your soul is like a dove, here is the place for it to build its nest. If you have chosen to be like a lonely sparrow, what retreat wherein to lead a life of solitude, retired from all, can be better suited to you than the Heart of Jesus? If your soul is like a turtle-dove, if it sighs after God by its chaste desires, behold the place of its repose, the open Heart of Jesus Christ. If you hunger, there you will find the manna which will nourish you; if you thirst, there is the fountain of the Savior at which you can drink abundantly. Yes, the Heart of Jesus is the river that came out of the midst of the earthly paradise; it flows into the hearts of all who are devoted to Him; it waters and fertilizes the whole earth. The Heart of Jesus is the door of the ark, through which those come in who will escape the flood. Enter then, and dwell in this Wound, contemplating like a dove the Passion, the mercy, and the love of Jesus.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Fourteenth Day

The Water and the Blood

There came out Blood and Water.
                                                  St. John 19: 34

Blood and Water! The Blood of Jesus flowed for the seventh time when the spear opened His Side. The Sacraments of the Church, especially Baptism and Penance, receive their efficacy from this Blood and Water which gushed out from the Heart of Jesus. Our Divine Mastered suffered His Side to be opened and His Heart to be pierced as though He would say to us: I have shed the Blood that was in all My members, and now I give the rest, even to the last drop. Having given up My Body to torments and My Soul to death, there is nothing more that I can do, unless it be to open My Heart which has loved you so much, so that you may not only draw near to Me by coming to the Cross, but may also enter, through this Wound, into My Heart.

No one could take away His life, but love triumphed and forced Him to deliver Himself up to death. Nor was death itself able to put an end to His love towards us. Why, indeed did He allow His Heart to be opened by a spear after His death, if not that there might be in Him a door opened wide whereby whosoever will may easily enter in? Through this Wound of His Heart, Jesus would also make known to us that love was the sole motive of His actions during His mortal life. Finally, do not these drops of Blood and Water coming from His Heart--where they had remained after His death, but which He would yet shed for us--show us that when Jesus was acting in our interest, he did not refuse us anything whatever?

O my beloved Brothers, let us meditate on the five virtues which our Savior's five Wounds reveal to us, and let us ask for these virtues, which are humility, poverty, obedience, patience, and charity. I might say six virtues, for the Wound of the Heart of Jesus teaches us that, in receiving it, Jesus practiced two virtues. From the other Wounds there came out Blood only, but from the Heart there flowed both Blood and Water. In the Blood I see boundless love, and in the Water the symbol of the purity of Jesus, Who is the Lamb without spot, the reflection of the eternal Light, the splendor and glory of the Father, to Whom be all praise, honor, glory, and thanksgiving.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Fifteenth Day

Come to the Heart of Jesus

.and put my hand into his side.
                                                St. John 20: 25

Lift up your heart and your mind as often as possible, and cast them into the amiable Heart of Jesus, into this Heart which is indeed divine, since, according to the Apostle, "In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally" (Colossians 2: 9), and because it is through this same Heart that we can all have access to the heavenly Father.

Practice interior recollection, and enter in spirit into the Heart of Him Who said, "Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you" (St. Matthew 11: 28).

The Heart of Jesus contains all virtues in their highest perfection. There we find mercy, justice, peace, grace,
salvation, the fountain of life, perfect consolation, and the true Light which enlighteneth all men, especially those who there seek for help in their trials and necessities.

In short, we receive all that we can desire from this Heart, and every blessing or grace bestowed upon us comes from It. It is a furnace of Divine love burning with the fire of the Holy Ghost. It cleanses, kindles, and changes into Itself all those who desire to be united to It. In a word, it is in this adorable Heart that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

Keep yourself then close to this Divine Heart, so that neither place, nor society, nor circumstances, may hinder you from hastening thither as to a haven of refuge where you will find nothing but love and fidelity; for though the hearts of men may deceive you or forsake you, and be wanting in sympathy, it is certain that the Heart of Jesus will never prove inconstant. Jesus is too faithful and has too great a love for you not to keep you in remembrance; and the pains He has endured for you prevent His forgetting anything that will complete the work of your salvation.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Sixteenth Day

Wherefore This Open Heart?

What are these wounds?
                                       Zechariah 13: 6

At the request of the Jews, some soldiers climbed the hill of Calvary to break the legs of the three men hanging on the crosses. Having broken the legs of the two thieves, they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead. They were thinking of going away, when one of them opened the Side of Jesus with his spear, and immediately there came out Blood and Water.

The Savior did not feel this grievous wound, which was a new and last outrage added to so many others. The spear smote but the dead Body of Jesus, while it penetrated into the soul and heart of Mary. "And he saw that it hath given testimony; and his testimony is true" (St. John 19: 35). Now, all this took place that the oracle of Holy Scripture might be fulfilled: "Videbunt in quem transfixerunt--They shall look on him whom they pierced" (St. John 19: 37).

This Wound in the Side of Jesus was so large that after His Resurrection the Apostle St. Thomas was able to put his whole hand into it; and at the same time it was so deep that it reached to the Heart. It is, in fact, the conviction of all devout souls, that the soldier's spear touched the Sacred Heart, and wounded It.

Jesus allowed His Heart to be opened in order to give us proof of His infinite love, and to make us understand that the sole cause of His sufferings was the charity which filled His Divine Heart. It is easy to see with what tortures the Body of Jesus was racked; our Redeemer wishes us also to see the love of His most merciful,
most faithful, and most amiable Heart, for this love is the source of all that He has done and suffered for us, and of all the favors that He has bestowed upon mankind.

Jesus has moreover opened for us His Heart so as to afford us a refuge in temptation, solace in the midst of suffering, help in times of persecution, shelter in adversity, light in hours of anxiety, and joy to those who love Him; in a word, to give happiness, salvation, and endless felicity to those who enter into this most beneficent Wound of His Sacred Heart.

This Wound of the Heart of my God is the gate of Paradise, the entrance of life, and the fountain of grace. The Heart of Jesus shall be my dwelling place, my bulwark, and my stronghold. In all temptations, let us not engage in open combat, but begin by going into the Heart of Jesus. From there we will fight. To remain far from this Wound, is to give up all hope of gaining the victory. It is gained by retiring into this citadel, which is so strong that no enemy can ever take it by storm.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Seventeenth Day

Give Him Your Heart

My son, give me thy heart.
                                             Proverbs 23: 26

God desires your heart more than anything else. Has He not indeed said: "My son, GIVE me thy heart?" Notice that God wants you to give Him your heart, and not merely to lend it. He would be its real and permanent owner. He wishes to dwell there and possess it, not for a certain time, but forever, not as guest only, but as its Master and its Lord. He would be the sole proprietor of your heart, in order that the homage, praise, submission to His will, and thanksgiving, which you offer Him, may come from your heart; for the heart is the source of all good, as of all evil, and God claims your heart because He wishes you to be wholly His. It is not surprising that He should claim you wholly, since He has first given Himself wholly to you. He then who gives his whole heart to God gives himself wholly to God. But to offer it to the Lord only from time to time, when we please, and to take it back again as soon as we like, is not giving, but lending it.

God desires you to give Him your heart, and not to be content with letting Him have it on hire. To hire out one's heart, is to offer it to God with a view to temporal reward. You who act from so ungenerous a motive, listen to these words of the holy Gospel; they apply to you: "Receperunt mercedem suam--they have (already) received their reward" (St. Matthew 6: 2). If you serve the Lord from worldly interests, for reasons of health, or through
vainglory, you hire out your heart, offering it to Him only on account of the reward which you expect.

Neither will God have you sell Him your heart. Those who serve God only for the sake of Heaven and its rewards, sell Him their hearts. Without doubt, the happiness of Heaven is no other than God Himself, yet this kind of love and this exclusive desire of reward are too imperfect, for it is above all in your own interest that you long for this blessing that will make you happy. In the enjoyment of Heaven, you see but a life without sadness or sorrow, wherein all joys and consolations abound, and which is shielded from anxiety and from everything distasteful. If this is the motive that leads you to love and wish for Heaven, if you serve God only to procure these benefits, you sell your heart, since you would not serve Him if you did not hope by this means to obtain
everlasting happiness. Truly such a love seeks itself too much! Wherefore the Lord wants you to give Him your heart, and to give it to Him so completely that you will (if possible) wish never to receive anything in return. It is not for yourself, but chiefly for God that you should serve Him, in order that, all-perfect as He is in Himself, He may receive praise and honor from you. Give then your heart to God. It is not right, honorable, or profitable
for you to give your heart to anything that is not God, for to Him alone we owe all that we are, and He wishes for nothing but the heart. When He possesses it, He is content.

Oh that so many men, who throw away their hearts upon I know not what, would give them at last to their good Master, who is their best friend, their Savior, and their God!

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Eighteenth Day

Gratitude to the Heart of Jesus

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart.
                                                                        Psalm 110: 1

Thou, most sweet Jesus, art my only love, my salvation, and my consolation. O most faithful friend of men, my Creator and my Redeemer, the light of my heart, the repose of my mind, and the remedy of my soul, I adore Thee. Thou Divine Reconciler of men, most loving advocate of sinners, Who givest comfort to the afflicted, relief to those who labor, and to the just their reward, I adore Thee. O Jesus, Victim well-pleasing in the sight of the Lord, Victim all-powerful with God, Thou art the Peace-offering whose odor of sweetness has mercifully inclined towards us God the Father, Who dwelleth in the highest Heaven. Thou hast compelled Him to look on us with loving kindness and pity, to take us into His favor, and to make us inheritors of His kingdom. O most merciful Jesus, I praise Thee, bless Thee, and give Thee glory for Thy infinite, inexhaustible and overflowing compassion towards us. It was not enough for Thee to be our Lord, our Creator, and our Protector, Thou wouldst become also our Redeemer, our Brother and our fellow exile! Thou hast been pleased to take our human nature, to share our weakness and poverty, and even to submit to the law of death. This is why, during thirty-three years, Thou hast labored and suffered so much in order to procure our salvation. O most compassionate Jesus, how often hast Thou been broken down with fatigue in consequence of Thy journeys! How often hast Thou suffered from heat, cold, thirst, hunger and poverty! How often hast Thou been despised, insulted or reproached! And--what is more wonderful than all--Thou hast finally yielded up Thy Soul to the most ignominious and bitter death for us who were Thine enemies!

Yet all these signs of love, and the great benefits bestowed upon us vile and ungrateful creatures, did not satisfy Thy inconceivable charity. During thirty-three years Thou wast loaded with sufferings and ignominy; but, to atone fully in our stead, there was yet one thing more that Thou wouldst do, after Thy death, in submitting to a last outrage, when Thou didst permit a cruel and insolent soldier to pierce Thy most tender Heart, already wounded with the dart of Thy love. But why didst Thou wish Thy Heart to be thus rent by a dreadful Wound? Ah! it was that we might see all the depth and the breadth of Thine infinite love, and learn with what charity Thou didst suffer for our sake. Thou wouldst teach us that all Thine actions were animated by the most perfect charity. Thy holy Body had been broken and bruised for us, and Thou hadst offered It to God as a living Sacrifice, pure and acceptable in His sight. It was difficult for Thee to prove more clearly or more perfectly Thy mighty love for us. Thou wouldst however open the sanctuary of love itself, and disclose the mystic casket which contains this treasure, by opening to us Thy Heart, in order to enable us to see with our own eyes whence came all that Thou hadst done for us. In reserving nothing for Thyself, in giving us all, even Thy Heart, does it not seem as though Thou wouldst say to each one of us, whose ingratitude and coldness, alas! Thou knewest: Behold, O man, and see all that I have done, all that I have suffered for thy salvation. Thou wast Our enemy, and I have restored thee to My Father's favor. Thou didst wander at random like a lost sheep; I sought thee long, with much trouble and weariness, and when at last I found thee, I carried thee in My Arms, and brought thee back to the heavenly fold. I bent My Head that it might be crowned with thorns. I held out My Hands and Feet to be pierced with nails. Patiently I suffered the torture of scourging. I shed My Blood even to the last drop; and My Heart was so inflamed with love of thee, that I was lacerated and bruised internally as well as externally. Finally, I gave up to death My Soul that I loved, and thus consummated, by My perfect and complete obedience, the work of thy salvation. After that, what can there still be to do? I have nothing more to offer thee. Thou seest well that My love for thee was strong as death, and My love makes Me wish thee to draw near to Me, and unite thyself to Me by love. Yet thou goest far away, and dost separate thyself from Me. Child of Adam, callous soul, if all I have already done is not enough to melt thy frozen heart, and make a deep impression on thee, accept My Heart in addition to all I have given thee, and understand what It is. Receive the Blood which flows from It. If I could do anything more and thou hadst the right to demand it, I should be quite willing to offer it to thee. Answer Me, what dost thou still require? Point out to Me what will be able to move, to convert thee, to decide thee to love Me, and most certainly I will not refuse to grant it.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Nineteenth Day
Gratitude to the Heart of Jesus

What shall I render to the Lord?
                                                           Psalm 115: 12

Reply of the faithful soul.--If it were in my power, I would return Thee unceasing acts of thanksgiving, as they would still be too little to praise Thee for Thy boundless love. O my God, my Father and my Savior, I adore and praise Thee. I bless Thee for having opened the door of Thy mercy and Thy love to all who sigh under the weight of afflictions of body or of soul, and who desire to come to Thee and take refuge in Thy Heart. In Thy Heart the
penitent sinner finds the unfailing remedy which heals the wounds of his soul. The weak find consolation, the tempted a place of safety, and the just their repose. Whosoever wishes it, can find in Thy Heart the most desirable, profitable and enviable abode that can be imagined here on earth. I thank and bless Thee in like manner for having spent Thyself wholly for us worthless creatures; for having poured out Thy most precious Blood so
abundantly; for having given It all, even to the last drop, to wash away our stains. Again and again I thank Thee; for all that was Thine, in life and after Thy death, Thou hast offered to God for the redemption of our souls. Thou didst reserve nothing for Thyself. Thou didst become dry and barren as a grape trodden in the wine-press. Most sweet Jesus, through Thy infinitely perfect and boundless love, open to me, I humbly beseech Thee, the door of Thy Heart, the door of life and of mercy. Suffer me to approach this fountain of grace; send me not away from Thy Heart, since, inspired by love alone, Thou hast made a way to that Heart for all those who seek and desire it. In Thy Sacred Heart I shall be in a sure refuge; there shall I enjoy unalterable peace; there shall I fix my dwelling in perfect confidence. There shall I find both repose and riches, there live as a dove in innocence and simplicity; there will I build my nest. There shall I be sheltered from the angry waves of this world's troubled sea, on which, alas! I am in very great danger. There shall I dwell without peril, far from my enemies who, like hungry lions, prowl and roar around my soul seeking to devour it.

O most sweet Jesus, enclose all my senses, all the affections of my soul, and all the impulses of my heart in Thy most holy Wounds. Let me think only of Thee, and contemplate unceasingly Thy blessed Passion. I acknowledge that I need this more than any other creature, seeing that a thousand times a day I go out of myself and no longer take thought of Thee, Who nevertheless dwellest always in the depth of my soul. O ardent love that is never extinguished, would that I burned with this fire Thou hast sent on the earth, and which Thou dost so fervently desire to see kindled in souls! So inflame and consume my poor heart that for the future it may not become chilled by the influence of worldly pleasures, but may burn with Thy love, seek no consolation but in Thee, be insensible to and die to all that is not of Thee, and live only for Thee its only life. Let my heart, I beseech Thee, enter through the most precious Wound of Thy sacred Side, even to the midst of Thy infinitely loving Heart, in order that it may be united to that Divine Heart by an indissoluble love, and absorbed and buried therein. Then shall I lose myself in Thee, and live inseparably attached to Thee. A mutual Compact will unite us; I shall be in Thee and Thou in me; all that is Thine will be mine, and all that is mine will be Thine forever.

O Jesus, the delight of my heart, vouchsafe to receive my heart and give me Thine, or at least a heart like unto Thy Heart. If I must needs retain my own, wound it, pierce it through and through with the all-powerful arrow of Thy love, with the blood-stained dart of Thy sorrowful Passion. This health-giving Wound will cure me, and inasmuch as I am consecrated to Thee, from henceforth, Thou alone wilt direct, defend and possess me. By imitating Thee I shall always do all that is pleasing to Thy Father, and shall love God only. With the help of Thy grace, I will be faithful to Thee, and will keep my soul in spotless purity and deepest humility. May my heart be always opened and ready to admit Jesus my well-beloved! May it be closed to the devil, estranged from the world, and dead to itself. May it be protected from the assaults of evil passions by the sign of the holy Cross.

Finally, I humbly beseech Thee, O my Jesus, through Thy most compassionate Heart, to bestow these same favors on my friends living and dead, granting to the former Thy grace and Thy love, and to the latter everlasting repose. Amen.

Carthusian of Cologne.
Born in 1489, died in 1539.

Twentieth Day

The Agony of the Heart of Jesus

My heart is become like melting wax.
                                                                  Psalm 21: 15

Consider, O my soul, what our Redeemer does when, for the last time, He devotes Himself to the holy exercise of prayer. He withdraws from His disciples into solitude, so that He may the better pour out the bitterness of His Soul before His Father, the one Consoler of those who are in anguish, Who alone is near to hearts in tribulation. At the sight of the torments that await Him, the inferior and sensitive part of His Soul seems for a moment overcome by terror. The Soul of Jesus Christ is filled with such great dread, that for the time He seems to forget what He is and why He came into this world. He prostrates Himself, and beseeches His Father to remove from Him, if possible, this chalice of suffering which He sees in store for Him. Nevertheless, the reasonable part of the Soul fully and freely submits its will to that of God; but between the inferior and superior parts, there is so sharp a struggle that our Lord is covered with sweat, a sweat of Blood, which oozes out in great drops and trickles down to the ground.

O my soul, consider attentively and inwardly contemplate the great agony of the most tender Heart of our Redeemer at this moment. On the one hand, His burning charity urges Him gladly to sacrifice Himself entirely for our salvation; but on the other, He is seized with horror at the thought of the terrible sufferings He foresees. A frightful combat is waged between love and fear, and His all-loving Heart is so overwhelmed in the struggle, that from His whole Body and its members there springs so abundant a sweat of Blood, that it penetrates His garments and wets the ground on which His Face is bent. Tell me, O my soul, hast thou ever seen a man so crushed under the weight of affliction and enduring so great an agony that he sweated blood? No, never has it been known for anyone to be reduced to this extremity. Only our Lord Jesus Christ, Who for our souls has become a true spouse of blood, has suffered this! Gather up these drops of Blood so precious; place them on thy heart, which is so hard; and their efficacy will soften it, and inflame it with love.

O heavenly Father, dost Thou not see the anguish of Thy Son? Is not Thy just anger allayed by all the sorrows that break His Heart?

O my Jesus, my sweet Jesus! Thou hast sacrificed Thyself in my stead, and hast most willingly suffer the divine wrath and vengeance, which should be cast on me, to fall on Thee! O good Lord Jesus Christ, what more couldst Thou have done for me? Love took such full possession of Thy Heart that It was induced to drink the bitter chalice of Thy Passion, even before Thy enemies came to torture Thee and to deliver Thee up to death.Yes, long before they put Thee to death, Thou didst suffer an interior death through the excessive sadness that oppressed Thy Heart. So ardent was Thy thirst to work out our salvation, that Thou didst Thyself perform all that was in Thy power in order to procure it, leaving to Thy enemies only what Thou couldst not do Thyself. What heart then, were it a heart of stone, would not be kindled by the fire of Thy Heart, which burns with the most intensive love?

Make me then feel compassion for Thy sufferings, O most loving and most sweet Jesus. O my Savior, so afflicted and so sorrowful, I cannot shed tears of blood, perhaps not even tears of water, but at least I can desire it, and my heart will know how to weep. Through the sadness and the oppression of Thy Heart, through this bloody sweat which, after so much suffering, gushed from all Thy members and abundantly watered the ground, I implore Thee, most sweet Jesus, to give me true contrition for my sins, to soften my hard heart with compunction, to inflame it with devotion, and to give to my eyes and abundance of tears, so that, by day and by night, I may weep for the injuries I have done Thee, the sins by which I have offended Thee. Put, I beseech Thee, this great sorrow of Thy Heart between Thy justice and my poor soul, that I may thereby be spared all that my iniquities deserve, and may be cleansed by Thy sweat of Blood.

Most sweet Jesus, Thou hast fought against the dread of death by a complete resignation. Thou hast subjected the natural love for Thy Humanity to be the uncreated love of the Divinity, and, with full consent, hast been obedient to Thy Father, even to the death of the Cross. Bestow upon me the same grace, in order that I may renounce my own will, be unmindful of self, and in such perfect submission to God and to all creatures for His sake, that I may only acknowledge in the depth of my soul, but also feel that I am indeed the most vile and worthless of beings. May I give up my will, and live without desires or choice, as though I had never had a will of my own. May Thy almighty power strengthen my weakness, in order that I may conquer the sensuality of my
rebellious and unmortified nature, entirely overcome every inordinate desire for anything that is not Thee, and become perfectly detached from all that might sully my heart. Grant, in short, that I may love Thee with as pure and steadfast a love as is possible for a creature that is mortal. Make my heart so just, so upright, so pure, so conformable to Thy Heart, that between Thee and me there may be nothing to offend Thee or estrange Thee from me. In all my words and actions, may I seek, wish and have in view one thing only, namely, to please and honor Thee. I desire to perform all that is pleasing to Thee. I desire to love Thee with all my heart; and my unceasing care shall be to return Thee at least some little love for Thy great charity. Amen.

Dom John of Torralba
A Spaniard, Prior of Aula Dei.
Died in 1578.

Twenty-First Day

The Heart of Jesus
The Source of the Supernatural Life

In me is all hope of life.
                                      Ecclesiasticus 24: 25

"Longinus with a spear has opened for me the Side of Jesus Christ," says St. Augustine. "I have entered into It, and there will I dwell in security and repose sweetly; there I am comforted with delights and fed with deliciousness." Yes, the Side of Jesus was designedly pierced near the Heart, in order to open for us a way and a door of access to that Heart. This is the opening in the ark, through which all those who escape from the deluge find entrance. Contemplate this Wound of the Sacred Heart, for therein is the source of thy life. There indeed, has our heavenly Father regenerated us for the life of Heaven. There we see unfolded for our contemplation the incomprehensible love of Jesus for us, for we see Him wholly immolated for us. He has reserved nothing for Himself, but has offered all for us. What more could He do? He has opened to us the hidden sanctuary of His Heart, and He introduces us as His intimate friends, for His delight is to be with us in silent peace and in peaceful silence. He has given us His Heart, all covered with cruel wounds, in order that we may be able to dwell therein until, having become purified and perfectly conformed to that Heart, we shall be deemed worthy to be taken and cast with Him into the bosom of His heavenly Father. Jesus gives us His Heart to live in, and asks to live in ours. He gives us His Heart like a bed full of roses purpled with His Blood; and He asks for our hearts in return. We should present them to Him adorned with the white lilies of purity. Who will dare to refuse Him what He has lavished upon us with such generosity? Behold how he invites us to enter into His Wounds sweeter than honey, into His loving Side, which is wide open to receive us! It is the mystic store filled with all heavenly delights. "Arise," He says, "my love, my beautiful one, and come, my dove, in the clefts of the rock," (Canticle of Canticles 2: 13, 14) that is to say, into My sacred Wounds.

Dom John Anadon
Prior of the Carthusians of Aula Dei.
Died in 1682.

Twenty-Second Day

The Holy of Holies

The veil of the temple was rent in two.
                                                        St. Mark 15: 38

Jesus will not be crucified privately in the court of the pretorium, but like a King bearing His weapons, He will be seen upon the battle field. He will be placed on the Cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, in broad daylight, exposed to the gaze of a very large number of persons, who have come from all parts of the land to celebrate the great feast of the Pasch.

If you have any love for our Lord, recall to mind the pains which He endured; kneel in the shadows of the Cross in contemplation; and the fruits of His bitter Passion will appear to you inestimably sweet. Do I ask anything too hard when I tell you to think of Him who has satisfied for you? Let not the Savior stretch out His Hands before you in vain. Seek no more for unprofitable joys here below, but reserve yourself for the joys of eternity. O man, hear today the voice of the Lord, and harden not your heart. God asks for your heart, and he would have it humble, docile, full of good will and of distrust of self, and set free from every sinful affection.

O unfathomable abyss of the ungrateful human heart! The earth quakes, the rocks are rent, the graves are opened when Jesus expires on the Cross, while the heart of man remains insensible and hard as adamant!

The veil of the temple behind the altar of incense hiding the Holy of Holies, was torn from top to bottom, and the mysterious and sacred objects of the Jewish worship were exposed to view. Thus were the mysteries of the New Law disclosed when the true Holy of Holies opened His Breast and drew from His Heart a new tabernacle not made with hands, rending forever the veil that separated us from His Father.

Thou, O my soul, art the dove, the beloved of God; enter then into the open Heart of Jesus. Enter into the holes of the mystical Rock, whence no one can drag thee against thy will. There will thou feel the fire that constrained that Heart to love thee with such great love. Through the lacerated Side of Thy Redeemer, as through a grating, thou wilt discern the treasures of Divine wisdom and knowledge. Keep near to thy God; the shadow that falls from the tree of the Cross is of admirable sweetness, it affected the thief and sanctified him. Let the remembrance of the Passion be ever before thee. This is what is called in the Apocalypse, washing ones robes in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7: 14). Then wilt thou be able to reach the tree of Life, and through the door of the Wounds of Jesus, thou wilt enter into the eternal City. He is but a thief and a robber who goes not in through the opening made in the Side and the Heart of Jesus.

Dom Lawrence Wartenberger
A converted Lutheran.
Born at Magdeburg about 1590;
Prior of the Carthusians of Coblentz.

Twenty-Third Day

The Mystic Bee

. . .that he might suck honey out of the rock.
                                                                    Deuteronomy 32 :13
. . . and the rock was Christ.
                                               1 Corinthians 10: 4

Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the Wisdom of the Father. If you thirst for the water of true wisdom, your soul may drink from the Savior's Wounds. St. John leaned upon the Heart of Jesus and reposed there sweetly. It was from the Savior's Heart that he imbibed all his wisdom, which enabled him to understand better than others the hidden things of God, and to penetrate them because he understood them.

Meditate attentively and devoutly on the sufferings of our Savior. While thus employed your senses will be closed to earthly things, and you will draw in Divine wisdom, and drink of the doctrine of salvation. You will then be able to discover the secrets of Heaven, feel them, and enter into them. The knowledge of much which is concealed from others will be revealed to you, because the source of life, of truth, and of wisdom will flow abundantly into your soul.

It is through Jesus crucified and by continual remembrance of His Passion that the kingdom of Heaven becomes established in our inmost hearts. God reveals Himself to us; sin takes flight, and the soul, entering into the Wounds of Jesus, like ice thrown into a fire, is melted and absorbed in its God. Lay down then your heart on the Wounds of Jesus, you who long for divine consolation; for there you will find in abundance all that you desire. The Wounds of Jesus our Savior are full of sweetness, delight and joy. No truer, greater, better or more salutary joy is to be found than that which is found in the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Ascend often to the tree of the Cross; dwell under its shadow, and gather its saving fruits. The tree of the Cross is always loaded. It comforts and satisfies the soul that plucks its fruits, and one can never take all that it bears.

"I am come to cast fire on the earth" (St. Luke 12: 49). This fire is the ardent flame of the divine love hidden in the Heart of Jesus. He who approaches it, is all kindled with fervor; he who remains at a distance, is indifferent, dry and frozen. Happy the soul that is inflamed with the fire of the sorrowful Passion of the Redeemer!

The Passion of Jesus is the treasure mentioned in the Gospel, hidden in a field (St. Matthew 13: 44). He who buys this mysterious field, will find there a stream of graces unceasingly flowing from the Savior's Wounds. When once the soul has entered into this field, it will drink from the life-giving stream, and will not go away. It will sell everything in order to buy this hallowed land. Oh! if the treasure hidden in the field of the Passion, and the well-spring of graces enclosed therein, were generally known, all would come to buy the field, dig there, and find that treasure. How slothful and foolish are those who enter not into this field, and who do not seek anything there! The Wounds of Jesus are fountains of living water that are never exhausted, but from which life, joy, and salvation are always flowing abundantly. Do you desire everlasting happiness? If so, have recourse to the Wounds of Jesus; seek it in His Side, and you will find it. You will live free from danger, and will be able readily to draw near to God.

The bee flitting from flower to flower, examines them, now closely, now at a distance; and when it discovers a flower containing a sweet substance, it advances, sucks it out and bears it away; and thus, with wondrous skill, it makes its honey. In like manner does the pious and devout soul, by constant meditation, alight upon the Savior's Wounds, and taste of the sweetness hidden in each of them. Gradually the soul becomes filled with heavenly consolations, and the hive of its understanding is replete with divine honey, which overflows and pours supernal sweetness into the soul.

The bee that flies further than the others and hovers over more flowers, collects their juices in greater abundance and makes more honey. Thus the soul that is frequently lifted up by mental prayer to this most beautiful Flower of the field, Jesus loaded with shame and covered with wounds; the soul, I say, that extends the circle of its contemplation, and considers more attentively the sufferings of Jesus, better understands each of the Savior's Wounds, and finds honey in the openings of the mystical rock, which is Christ Himself. I will turn then to Jesus all covered with wounds. I will never cease my endeavors to reach Him, until my soul shall be united to His Soul, my spirit to His Spirit, and my heart to His Heart.

Jesus, the last End of all things, is Himself the light and the way that leads to Himself. Jesus is a light placed in a lantern. He will be my guide. The light of His Divinity is placed in His Humanity, open by many wounds from whence the light streams out.

O Jesus, the true, infinite, uncreated, substantial and supersubstantial Light, the cause, beginning, and end of all good, vouchsafe of Thy goodness to have mercy upon me. From all the Wounds Thou hast received, as from so many fountains of living water, pour out a stream of charity and life, and of Thy clemency and longanimity forgive me my sins, through Thy Wounds, Thy Blood, Thy tears, Thy sweat, Thy labors, Thy sorrows; through the pains of Thy Head, Thy Body, Thy Hands, Thy Feet, Thy Side, and through the anguish of Thy Soul and of Thy Heart. Amen.

Dom Anthony Volmar
Prior of the Charterhouse of Astheim, in Franconia.
Born about 1550.

Twenty-Fourth Day


One of the soldiers with a spear opened his side.
                                                                         St. John 19: 34

Consider the Wound made in our Lord's Side, and admire the ruling providence of God, Who makes use of a soldier's cruelty for the production of this Wound. Enraged that Christ, by dying too quickly, has escaped so soon from the torments and insults of the Jews and executioners, this infuriated man wreaks his blind rage on the dead Body of the Savior, and ruthlessly drives his spear into the Side with such violence that the Cross is shaken by the blow and well-nigh thrown down.

First point.

God Himself willed that the Side of the second Adam, sleeping on the Cross, should be opened, in order that the Church might be taken from it. This is what St. John would give us to understand when he so minutely and expressly states, that "immediately there came out blood and water" (St. John 19: 34), which are the symbols of our salvation. This Blood and this Water, passing through the Sacraments, as through so many channels, come to us to cleanse and sanctify us. O how great is the charity of our good Samaritan!

Second point.

Moreover, the Lord would have the Side of Jesus opened in order that it might become the door set in the side of the ark, through which all could enter who wish to escape this world's deluge.

Third point.

Finally, Jesus had His Side opened so that by this visible Wound, we might behold the Wound of love which has pierced His Heart.


Enter then through this gate of Paradise; come to the fountain and the tree of life, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that you may see how He has borne you in that Heart. Enter by this door into the mystical store-house. The Spouse of souls invites you there when He says: "Si quis sitit, veniat ad me, et bibat--If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink" (St. John 7: 37).

Dom Renatus Hensaeus
Prior of the Charterhouse of Brno (Moravia) in 1610;
professed monk of the Grande Chartreuse.

Twenty-Fifth Day

The Holy Lance

Now then I will run him (King Saul) through with my spear. . .
                                                                                             1 Samuel 26: 8

A soldier pierced the Side of Jesus with his spear. Ah! now canst thou clearly behold the Divinity of Jesus through the torn veil of His Humanity! Now that the beautiful Face of my Jesus is bent towards thee in token of mercy, know that by the death thou hast given to His life, He will give life to thy death. As for me, I can live no longer since my life is dead, and I can see no more my living Jesus, Who was the light of my eyes and the life of my heart.

It is not, however, enough for thy cruelty to see Him in this sad condition. What! fierce madman, wilt thou also rob Him of His Heart, the center of His love, by this wanton thrust of the spear into His Side? O lance, spare at least my soul and cause not all my blood to flow away through the wound thou makest there! Knowest thou not that my life and soul are hidden in this Heart? Dost thou not understand that it is there I live and breathe? Pitiless lance, thou woundest, thou bruisest me; thinking to strike only one, thou piercest me with Him. O unrelenting lance! is thy thirst then so acute? Thou hast my breast, my body, it is enough; spare, I pray thee, this Heart, and let my veins be emptied and all my blood poured out to save this Heart of Jesus, the love of my soul.

But what dost thou my soul, in offering thy heart for that of Thy God? Wouldst thou live without a heart, and shut thyself out of Heaven? To enjoy the latter, it is necessary to open the former. I know thou wilt say that it is from this Divine Heart, and not from Heaven, that thou hast taken thy essence and thy first form, and that thou canst not do without Its love, for thou art like the moon, which of itself is not visible, and sends forth no light which it does not borrow from the sun. But reflect also that this Heart of Jesus performs all things with harmony and consideration, and that, being the first of the living and the dead, the chief of the elect, and the prototype of all perfection, It must needs be opened thus in order to become the door of Paradise.

Dost thou now reproach the iron, which is the blessed key of thy felicity? Oh no! away with indignant thoughts and revengeful designs! I love thee, glorious iron. I honor and venerate thee as a cause of my salvation, the door-keeper of my everlasting glory. O Jesus! who will make Thee all things to me and in me? Who will make me to possess Thee without fear of losing Thee? Or rather, who will transform me into iron, and the iron into a lance, that I may be plunged forever into Thy Heart, Which is the delight of mine and the destruction of my enemies?

Ah! once only, only once, and that forever, so that I may never come out of It again! Let the good things of this world vanish away. They are only mire, scum and corruption, perpetual figures of death, and not to be compared to the greatness of my love which only longs for and clings to this Heart of my soul, to this Soul of my heart.

O God! when can I reach It? When shall I be cast into It? Fearest Thou not the vehemence of my desires, the strength of my affection? Ah! I am no longer an arrow, but the spear which can once more open Thy Side and pierce Thy Heart as sharply as that of Longinus. And who shall keep me back? Who shall drive me away, since it is so much greater a benefit to do this than to refrain from it? Yes indeed, and whilst I say it, O Holy Lamb, I marvel at the sweetness of Thy loving kindness, which gives back life to him who slays Thee and pierces Thy Heart.

Dom Polycarp de la Riviere
Prior of the Carthusians of Bordeaux (1629),
and of Bonpas near Avignon.

Twenty-Sixth Day

Noah's Ark

Thou shalt make a window in the ark...;
and the door of the ark thou shalt set in the side.
                                                                         Genesis 6:16

Here is a high and divine mystery! The door of Noah's ark was in the side thereof; and the door of Paradise, of life and of eternal salvation, is now in the Side of Jesus Christ, the just Noah, Who was put to shame by His own children, and Who is also the true Ark of everlasting refuge. None escaped the surging waves and furious cataracts of the flood, save those who entered through the door made in the side of Npah's ark; and none are destined to be rasied to the triumphant glory of the blessed, but those who have been plunged into and submerged in the precious Blood which streams from the Wound in the Side of Jesus. St. Augustine however observes this great difference, that while the door of Noah's ark remained closed during the dreadful deluge to all the rest of mankind who longed to enter in and be saved from the unpitying death that was overtaking them, the door in the Side of Jesus Christ is ever open to all those who wish to find there a place of shelter, rest and security. O my God, let my heart enter there, be plunged therein and submerged forevermore. Dear lance, dear iron, though hast opened the sacred Breast of my Divine Redeemer, open my breast and pierce it through, all worthless as it is. Break and melt my heart, so that it may see what foolish and unworthy desires had found a place therein.

Dom Polycarp de la Riviere
Prior of the Carthusians of Bordeaux (1629),
and of Bonpas near Avignon.

Twenty-Seventh Day

The True Absalom

He took three lances in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom.
                                                                                                              2 Samuel 18: 14

Into the Heart of Jesus, O my soul, direct and take thy flight. The Heart of Jesus, His Wounds, His Hands, and His Feet are thy elements, thy center and the sphere of thy supernatural abode. Long only to thirst after Him, ardently desire only what He is pleased to inspire in thee. Beyond Him there is nothing to be gained; out of Him there is everything to lose. All is in Him, nothing after Him. With Him is all happiness, without Him every misfortune. Come then, come with quick footsteps and hasten to reach and enter there, or rather to be His, as we are already in Him. He is in thee and thou in Him, more than thou art in thyself. There place all thy words, thoughts, deeds, affections and intentions. Say with holy Job, that in this nest thou wilt die, and as a palm-tree (or like the phoenix) multiply thy days, and return to life from the ashes of thy Redeemer's death. Give Him heart for Heart, love for love. Then shalt thou be indeed transformed into Him, when thou hast made thy life entirely conformable to His, "not in glorious majesty, but in lowliness of will," as St. Bernard says; not desiring any other glory, or other life than Jesus Christ. Jesus is my life, my soul, the heart of my love and the love of my heart! The hart, pursued by hunters and parched with thirst, longs not more ardently for a stream of clear water at which to quench its thirst, than I long to endure all kinds of hardships and sufferings in this life, that I may be
united more closely to my Lord and my God!

O God, my God! when shall all Christians follow Thee as the people of Israel followed Absalom, with their whole heart? Absalom--without his faults--has many similarities to the Son of God. Absalom was the son of a king, Jesus Christ is the Son of the King of kings. Absalom was the most beautiful of the children of Israel, and Jesus most beautiful among the sons of men. Absalom hung and died on an oak; Jesus hung and died on the Cross. Absalom, by his death, brought peace to the kingdom of all the tribes of Israel; and Jesus, by His death, saves and redeems the whole world. Absalom was the son of David; Jesus was born of the same race of David; both were put to death to the very great benefit of their subjects and dependents, and both were bruised and pierced by their nearest, most intimate and familiar friends. The name Absalom signifies in Hebrew "the Father's peace"; but Jesus alone gives us true peace with His Eternal Father. A soldier killed Absalom by striking his heart, and a soldier pierced the Heart of Jesus with his spear. Absalom was pierced with three lances; Jesus with three nails, and a lance the point of which wounded and transpierced His Heart with three darts of unspeakable suffering. The first was the cruel blow of all the agonizing tortures of His most ignominious Passion; the second, the extreme anxiety He felt for the inconceivable sorrow and desolation of His most blessed Mother; the third, the hard-heartedness, stubbornness and eternal damnation of Judas and of the greater number of this ungrateful and unmindful people. How strange is this, that one thrust of the spear into the Heart of Jesus Christ, should deal three distinct blows, and wound very deeply three other hearts, those of His afflicted Mother, of St. John, and of St. Mary Magdalene!

Dom Polycarp de la Riviere
Prior of the Carthusians of Bordeaux (1629),
and of Bonpas near Avignon.

Twenty-Eighth Day

The Heart of Jesus Opened

. . . opened his side.
                                      St. John 19: 34

O pitiless and inhuman lance, what seekest thou in this Heart, the love of my soul, the Heart of my true God of love? Is it His disciples? They all abandoned Him yesterday. Is it His flesh thou desirest? It is exposed on the Cross by the judge's sentence. Art thou thirsting for His blood? Dost thou not see how It has been spilt all along the streets? But perhaps thou wouldst have His garments? Ah! it is too late, for the soldiers have already divided them, and cast lots for His coat. Wouldst thou then have His beautiful Soul? It has descended into hell to take by surprise and overcome the strong man armed, and deprive him of the precious spoil he has kept shut up there. If thou meanest to kill Him, He is already dead; if to deprive Him of His honor, the Cross has shamed and dishonored Him enough; if to fasten Him to the tree, the nails have forestalled thee; if to shed His Blood, dost thou not see that He no longer lives, and that thy work is useless? But O unsparing lance, it is His Heart thou seekest. His Divine Heart, that thou mayest kill His nearly lifeless Mother by striking the dead Body of her Son.

But how is it, O sweet Jesus, and by what law of medical science dost Thou thus bleed to heal our infirmities, Thou Who art the beloved and holy Physician of our souls? What physician ever took the draught prescribed for the sick person he wished to restore to health? Whoever had his veins opened with a spear instead of a lancet? Whoever preferred a rash Longinus to an experienced and skilful surgeon? Who was ever known to have himself nailed and lifted up on a cross of fifteen feet in length and eight feet in breadth, with his whole body and his heart presented to the lance of a deluded soldier, so that he might not miss his aim? But why should the Savior's Side and Heart be struck, rather than His Arms, His Feet, or His Head?

There is a very great mystery in this. Certainly, our friends in the world sometimes open their houses to us, so that we may go in, converse and stay there without restraint; occasionally they throw open their barns and cellars and let us take out the corn and wine; rarely they open their chests and treasures and place them at our disposal; but what friend has ever laid open his heart so freely that he has not kept back at least some secret thoughts? Jesus Christ only, the holy Lover of the redeemed, has never refused either favors or pleasures to His friends. He has never failed them in time of need, nor has He hidden from them one secret or thought that was for their good. And even after His death, He suffered His Side to be opened by a spear thrust, in order that we might see with what good-will He had suffered, and how ardently He was inflamed with love of us and with desire for our salvation. Why then, my soul, dost thou not raise up thy heart to this Heart and unite thy side to this Divine Side? Why not hasten to mingle thy blood with this precious Blood, in which tears of compassion and devotion are mingled with joy and hope of the everlasting glory awaiting us? For this opening of the Side of Jesus, and the wonderful shedding of Blood and Water, should fill us with a sweet gladness, tempered with tears of sorrow for our common evil, but full of rejoicing at the remembrance of the death of our death, and how the tree of Life, grafted on to that of the Cross, has produced the fruit of our salvation.

In the opening of Thy Sacred Heart, O Jesus, may my heart be enriched and adorned with the inestimable treasure and incomparable radiance of Thy love. May all my affections be in Thee. May all my thoughts, imaginations, intentions, and the employment of my mind be for Thee. May all my faculties, passive, sensitive, incentive, progressive, and appetitive, tend towards Thee. I desire to be so transformed and united to Thee, that my life may be forever hidden in Thine.

But why lament, why weep and sigh so much over the death and the wounded and pierced Heart of this immortal Love? Was not His death to be our life, as our life was the cause of His death? If we would enter Heaven, we must go into this Heart; this Side must be opened for us, if we are to enjoy felicity; and the iron that opened it has closed hell against us. Cease then to mourn, O my soul, for in this Heart, open and laid bare, thou hast the  everlasting happiness of a glorious immortality.

Let the needy seek wealth, the ambitious thirst for honor, the miser think only of his treasures. Thou wilt find all these, and also the completion and perfection of every good desire in this holy Heart, which is filled with gifts and graces, and is the wealth of the children of God, the treasury of divine riches, the light of our understanding, the fervor of our will, the store-house of our memory, the remedy of our passions, the curb of our fears, the anchor of our hope, the savor of our spiritual delights; in short, the strength of the weak, the comfort of the defeated, the solace of the weary, the North pole of the navigator, the secure haven of those who are dashed against the rock, the holy death of the living, the true life of the dead, and the pledge of everlasting happiness.

Dom Polycarp de la Riviere
Prior of the Carthusians of Bordeaux (1629),
and of Bonpas near Avignon.

Twenty-Ninth Day

The Sweat of Blood

His sweat became as drops of blood.
                                                       St. Luke 22: 44

Consider how our Lord in His agony gives us a proof of His having taken our human nature. He Who but lately consoled His disciples and concealed from them His own sadness, is now so forsaken and deprived of all aid, that He reveals His sorrows to the Apostles. He comes to them for consolation, and asks for their assistance, saying: "Stay you here, and watch with me" (St. Matthew 26: 38). The Heart of Jesus was certainly weighed down by excessive anguish when He pronounced these words, and as this suffering of His Heart was all within, and was not apparent, He wished to make it known to us. Indeed, it was not fitting that so great a sorrow, and one so worthy of our gratitude, should remain unknown. For the same reason, when hanging on the Cross, He cried out: "I thirst" (St. John 19: 28), thus manifesting the kind of suffering He endured, which we could learn only from His own Lips. Understand then how bitter were the pangs that tortured the Heart of Jesus!

Our Lord received consolation when the Angel appeared to Him, but seeing that His Passion was irrevocably determined, the anguish of His Soul was so acute that He suffered a deadly agony, and drops of blood issued in abundance from His whole Body, that they wetted the ground. Contemplate with loving and sincere compassion your most amiable Redeemer, plunged into such sorrow, the deep sighs heaving from His Breast. But what of His most afflicted Soul while from His feeble and tender Body this extraordinary sweat poured out? His Heart was cruelly strained between the weight of natural fear of the torments of His Passion, and the desire to accomplish His Father's will, and thus to procure the salvation of men. The will and superior part of the soul did great violence to the sensitive part, so that it might be wholly conformed to the divine will, and say: "Non mea voluntas, sed tua fiat--Not my will, but thine be done" (St. Luke 22: 42). All this so oppressed the Heart of Jesus that every pore opened and the Blood gushed out. In time of great suffering, the blood is concentrated in the heart in order to strengthen the principal member--hence the exterior parts of the body become pale,--but in this exceptional case, strength of mind so forcibly overcame natural weakness that it refused this aid, and sent back the blood to the outside as a sign of its readiness to be spilt without waiting for the hand of the executioner to shed it by force. In this way, the most perfect charity of Jesus Christ and His will were the executioners that tortured His most holy Body, even to the shedding of His Blood.

This extraordinary agony and sweat of Blood were also caused by the clear and distinct knowledge our Lord then had of all the sins of the world, past, present, and future. He had taken upon Himself to answer for us before the Eternal Father, and to expiate our sins in our stead; God then showed them all to Him distinctly and separately, and put their load on the shoulders of our most innocent Redeemer. The weight of this burden made Him sweat Blood from His whole Body.

Let us observe, by the way, that the Saints tell us that mortal sin is so horrible and such an insult to the Divine Majesty, that if a man could understand the enormity of those of which he is guilty, he would be unable to bear the pain he would feel. He would either break his heart with grief, or lose his reason. Now, our Lord, seeing and knowing the sins of all men, and knowing the depth of their hideousness, felt as great sorrow as if He had really committed them. It was then a miracle that His Heart did not break. He preserved His life to be able to suffer all that He still had to endure in His Passion. Nevertheless He wept bitterly. From His Eyes and His whole Body He shed tears of Blood, and consumed with zeal for God's honor, instead of tearing His clothes like the Jews when they heard blasphemy, He rent His whole Body, and poured out His Blood on all sides.

Dom Anthony de Molina
A Spaniard, Carthusian at Miraflores, about 1605.

Thirtieth Day

It Is Consummated

He loved them unto the end.
                                                      St. John 13: 1

It should be noticed that the Evangelist does not say that the soldier struck, tore or wounded the Side of Jesus, but that he opened It. He uses this _expression to make us understand why our Lord chose to receive this thrust. By opening to us His Breast, Jesus wished to reveal to us the very great love with which He burns for us, and to show us all that He has suffered, He has suffered because His Heart was wounded with love of souls; and to prove this, He has had His Heart opened and left always open, so that, through this wide door, we may reach the center of His Heart, and find a place of refuge in temptations and dangers. It was thus that all those who escaped the deluge found safety by entering through the opening Noah had made in one of the sides of the ark.

The rock in the desert, wounded, so to speak, by the rod of Moses, poured out such a copious stream of water that it was sufficient to quench the thirst and supply all the needs of the Hebrew people. In like manner, the true Rock, which is Christ, was struck and wounded by the soldier's lance; and from the Side, and from the open Heart, sprang a divine stream, whence flow the Sacraments, like seven fountains always full of graces and salvation for souls.

Consider also that the Blood and Water which flowed from the Side of Jesus, could come out only by a miracle. The blood stops and congeals immediately after death, and a corpse bleeds no more, whatever wound is made in it; much less does there come out real and natural water like that which fell from the Side of Jesus Christ. This is then a great mystery, and here is the interpretation of it. The Divinity nevertheless remained united to it and imparted to it another life, a divine existence of which it made use to shed the little Blood which remained within it, in order to show us that His love made Him give even this last drop, hidden at the bottom of His Heart, where neither scourges, nor thorns, nor nails, had been able to penetrate.

When a man empties his purse, he shakes the bottom of it to be sure that nothing remains there. Jesus has done this with His Heart.

Dom Anthony de Molina
A Spaniard, Carthusian at Miraflores, about 1605.

At the conclusion of this month, O most merciful Jesus, I offer myself to Thy Majesty and Thy Goodness, and humbly commend myself to Thee. By all the Wounds of Thy Body, by each drop of Thy Precious Blood, by the infinite tenderness of Thy Heart, I beseech Thee to receive me into Thy favor and to deliver and preserve me from all sin. May my soul be united to Thee, O my God, by the most perfect, most fervent, most faithful and unceasing love, so that, with all my heart and from the depth of my soul, I may love Thee, seek Thee, desire, Thee, praise and bless Thee, in all things and above all things. O sweet Jesus, my God, may I think but of Thee, desire but Thee, know and enjoy but Thee; may I be attached inseparably to Thee only; may I spend my whole life and all the powers of my body and soul in praising, honoring and serving Thee!

Dom Henry Egher de Kalkar
Born in 1328.
Prior at Cologne and Strasburg.
Died in 1408

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