The Side of Jesus Wounded

Source: THE SCHOOL OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus,
TAN BOOKS, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1895


  OUR blessed Saviour having expired, a soldier, more cruel and impious than the rest, imaging that He may yet be alive, wounds Him in the side with a lance. Consider:

1. The cruelty displayed towards Jesus on this occasion.

   The barbarity of the enemies of Jesus is not satiated by all the inhuman tortures inflicted upon His living Body, but, more cruel than death itself, they turn their rage against the sacred Body of their dead Redeemer. A man, however wicked he may have been, is an object of compassion when once he has given his life in expiation of his crimes. The outrages offered to Jesus alone are endless, the insults heaped upon His sacred Person alone are unlimited. Jesus is already dead, why then open His side with a lance? Why is not the hatred borne Him by the Jews at last extinguished? Why is their cruelty not yet satiated by all the sufferings which have been inflicted upon their innocent Saviour? Behold how that sharp lance, directed by eager hands, inflicts a deep wound upon the breast of Jesus, and pierces through and through His adorable Heart. Oh, cruel spear! But oh, far more cruel hands that direct it! How frequently have you, O Sinner, not merely crucified Jesus anew by sin, but persisted in wounding and lacerating His most holy Heart over and over again by your continual offenses! Repeatedly have you thus cruelly and impiously outraged your loving Redeemer. How many times have you re-opened that wound? Detest your malice, bewail your ingratitude, and cleanse all the stains wherewith your soul is defiled, in that Blood and water which issues from the side of your Redeemer.

  Jesus feels no pain from the wound at the moment of its infliction, but He suffered it by anticipation, and by the knowledge He had of the atrocious cruelty of the man who would inflict it; still He willingly accepted this indignity and submitted to so barbarous an outrage. Jesus spares not Himself in any way where the salvation of your soul is concerned, whereas, oh, how ungenerous and niggardly are you in His regard! Ah, such is not the manner in which you should correspond with the infinite love of Jesus, who has deigned to suffer for your sake with so much generosity!

2. The love displayed by Jesus for us.

   The Son of God was not satisfied with giving us proofs of His love during life, but it was His Will to give us additional proofs of it even after death. It was His Will thereby to show us that His love was not quenched by death. Therefore He permitted that His sacred side should be opened with a spear after His death, so that we might behold His divine Heart pierced for love of us. Thus was a door opened for us, through which we might enter, and behold the ever living, ever burning love of the Heart of Jesus, even after death. His sufferings might deprive Him of life, but not of love, which, like a mighty fire, burned more brightly and clearly still, when fed with the fuel of sufferings. Do I desire to increase in love for Jesus, I need but fix my eyes upon Him as He hangs dead on the Cross for love of me, and behold how His sacred Body has been lacerated and immolated for my sake. Those wounds which bleed no longer because every vein is emptied of the last drop of its blood, tell us loudly how great, how excessive, is the love of God for us, since it has reduced Him to such a condition for our sake. But why add a fresh wound to the lacerated Body, from which the soul is already separated? Oh, truly precious wound, inflicted by reason of the excessive charity of a God, whose desire it is to make known to us how great, even after death, is His love for man! His Heart is a furnace of love, which not all the waters of the sea can ever extinguish. Oh, is there anyone to be found, who can contemplate that open side, that tender, wounded, loving Heart, without feeling himself obliged to return love for love? Enter, my soul, enter into the burning furnace of the tender Heart of Jesus, enter it frequently in spirit, and there thy incredible hardness of heart will be softened, and thy icy coldness warmed; thou wilt be inflamed with holy love for thy God. Behold the last drop of warm blood issuing from that sacred Heart, and bathing the soldier who has inflicted the wound! The scourges had not drawn that last drop, neither had the thorns, or the nails, but now, at last, the spear opens it a passage, and it flows forth! O surprising and excessive charity of Jesus! Who gives even the last drop of His Heart's blood, and gives it for the good of those who inflict the wound upon Him! And are you so fearful of bestowing too much upon Jesus, if you bestow all your love upon Him, that you are obliged to share it with a thousand vain objects? Permit me, O my Jesus, to kiss Thy wounded side, and to enter into Thy Divine Heart, where thou mayest destroy my malice in the flames of its charity, transform me totally into Thyself, and fill my soul with Thy Divine love.

3. The mystery therein represented.

   From the side of Adam asleep, the Almighty took a rib, of which He formed Eve, the mother of all the living, thereby representing in figure what would be accomplished in the death of Jesus. The death of our Redeemer is but the sleep of the Second Adam, the Repairer of the evils brought upon the world by the first. Therefore, while He is sleeping the sleep of love upon the Cross, His side is pierced by the lance, in order that the Church, His beloved Spouse, the Mother of all the faithful, may come forth from His side, that is to say, from His adorable Heart. Behold of how great a Mother your faith makes you the happy son! She derives her existence from the most pure Heart of a Man-God. Must not your origin be Divine also, since you are the son of such a Mother? What therefore can be more suitable, since you derive your existence from the most loving Heart of Jesus, than that you should return whence you came forth, and should be unable to find true rest or happiness, save in the Heart of your Lord? From that wounded Heart has likewise flowed the water which sanctified you in Baptism, and which has so often cleansed you from your sins in Confession. Comprehend, if possible, the price, the value, the dignity, and merit of holy Baptism, and the excellence of the august title of a Christian, which it bestows upon you. Through it you are born again to a new life of grace, you are put in possession of the precious inheritance of the sons of God, you acquire a right to the eternal inheritance of Heaven, you become one of the people of God, the brother of Jesus Christ, His co-heir, and a member of His mystical Body, the Church. So numerous, therefore, are the favors, so noble the prerogatives, which you derive from the wounded side of Jesus! What gratitude do you feel toward your Divine Redeemer for blessings so great and innumerable? Have you ever even thought of them with the slightest emotions of gratitude? How often have you thanked your Lord for His infinite goodness and mercy? Strange as it may seem, it yet is a fact, that Christians live and die without having perhaps once returned God thanks for so extraordinary a favor as that of being children of the true Church of Jesus Christ, or having even considered the grace of being Christians as any extraordinary favor! Value so great a happiness as it deserves, and be grateful for it to Jesus, through whose wounded Heart it has been bestowed upon you.

The Fruit

   Consecrate yourself this day to the love of the sacred Heart of Jesus---the center of all hearts. In all your trials and temptations, take refuge in the side of your Redeemer, endeavoring to make most fervent and lively acts of love for His adorable Heart. Return God thanks every morning and evening, for the singular favor He has bestowed upon you in making you a Christian, and a member of His Church. Glory in being, in appearing, and in professing yourself a Christian on every occasion. Do not disgrace the august and venerable character bestowed upon you in Baptism, by committing sin, or by leading a life unworthy of a Christian.


  Blessed Francis Lippi, a Carmelite friar, was most devout to the Passion of Jesus Christ, and accustomed to spend several hours each day in meditating upon it, with many tears. It happened one day, that being engaged in this pious exercise, and considering how excessive were the sufferings of his Jesus on the Cross, and how great was the cruelty of those who pierced His side with a spear after death, he wished that his eyes might be changed into two fountains of tears, that so he might weep unrestrainedly over the sufferings and outrages endured by his loving Redeemer; when, behold, there appeared unto him Jesus nailed to the Cross, covered with blood, and His side pierced with a spear! The following words were then addressed to him in a voice faint with exhaustion: "Behold, O Francis, how much I have suffered for the love of man, and what an ungrateful return he yet makes Me for all My sufferings." The vision then disappeared. At this mournful spectacle the blessed man wept bitterly over the sufferings of his sweet Jesus, and, taking an iron chain, scourged his body severely, until he had made his blood flow in streams for the love of Him Who for his sake had shed even the last drop of His Own, and he meanwhile, exclaimed in sorrowful accents, "It is I, O Lord, it is I who am the cause of Thy sufferings; it is I who am the cause of Thy bitter Passion!" Repeat these or similar words whenever you look at the Crucifix.


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