From the tradition:
“Your side was pierced in order that an entrance might be opened for us . . . Your heart was wounded so that through the visible wound we might see the invisible wound of love. For one who loves ardently is wounded by love. How could this ardor be shown to us more effectively than by permitting not only His body but His very heart to be pierced with a lance?” —St. Bonaventure, The Mystical Vine, 3.5
For your reflection:
“God is love,” the first letter of John tells us in a simple yet startling equation. Nowhere is the truth of that statement more prominently displayed than in the events commemorated during the Church’s Holy Week services. In his meditation on the passion of Christ, St. Bonaventure calls our attention to one such event--the piercing of Christ’s side by a Roman soldier’s lance. For Bonaventure, the resulting wound is an invitation from God to enter more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy and compassion, and to experience more profoundly the love that God has for us, indeed, the love that God IS for us. God’s love is so constant, so utterly faithful, that God continues to pour himself out, to give himself away, even when we ignore, trivialize, manipulate, or abuse his love. Unlike our own love which so often recoils in the face of rejection, God continues to love even those who will have little or nothing to do with him. God is always and nothing but love—pure self-gift. That is the saving truth which the cross of Christ reveals to us. To be sure, Holy Week is a graced opportunity to follow St. Bonaventure’s lead and to meditate on the passion of Christ. However, if we wish to enter fully into the wound in Christ’s side and to dive deeply into the mystery of God’s love, then we have to become more than pious spectators. We, too, must love those who have wounded us, forgive those who have offended us, and give ourselves away in service, even to the callous, the indifferent, and the ungrateful.
For your prayer and petition:
O God, you reveal the depths of your love for us through the wounds of the crucified Christ. May we accept your invitation to enter those wounds and to be transformed by your love into joyful apostles of your compassion.