Wednesday, June 10, 2015

This Heart of Virtues

The Carthusians have brought forth a good amount of writings on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One of their authors is Johannes Gerecht of Landsberg (1489-1539). He’s sometimes identified as John Justus of Landsberg but perhaps most familiarly by the single Latinized name of Lanspergius. He joined the Carthusians at the age of twenty and entered the Charterhouse in Köln where he would eventually become the novice-master. In the year 1530 he became prior of the Charterhouse of Cantave. Here are some of his reflections.
* * * * * *

How to honor the Heart of Jesus

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 with 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.

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.

Behold this Heart which has so much loved me 

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.

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.

What the Heart of Jesus teaches us

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. 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?

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.

The Water and the Blood

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 Master 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.

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.